After much deliberation, John Burrows has taken the tough decision to carry on with his plans to run his Cookstown B.E. Racing machines at the Isle of Man TT.
Burrows and his Dungannon-based team was plunged into mourning last Saturday following the tragic death of rising young star Malachi Mitchell-Thomas at the North West 200.
The 20-year- old, from Chorley in Lancashire, died after a crash in the Supertwins race.
Burrows was left to mull over his plans for the remainder of 2016, with the former road racer already committed to supplying Burton-on- Trent racer Peter Hickman with a 650cc Kawasaki for the Lightweight race at the TT.
Dubliner Derek Sheils also has a deal in place to ride Burrows’ Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike at the remainder of the Irish National events, plus the Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod in August.
Yesterday, Burrows took the decision to forge ahead as planned for the rest of the season with the blessing of Malachi’s father, Kevin Thomas.
Irishman Sheils will now ride Burrows’ Suzuki Superbike and Honda Supersport machines at the TT in addition to his own Kawasaki ZX-10R Superstock bike, with Hickman representing the team in the Lightweight class.
A statement issued by Burrows yesterday said: “The sudden passing of Malachi Mitchell Thomas at the North West 200 has left his family, team, fans and the world of motorcycling in shock over the past week.
“After much thought and consideration with Mal’s dad Kevin Thomas, sponsors and the TT organisers, we have come to the decision to carry on and represent Cookstown Burrows Engineering Racing at the event.
“We will also support Derek Sheils for the remainder of the year at Irish National road races.
“Derek will be competing in the Superbike and Supersport classes at the TT, and Peter Hickman in the Supertwin event,” the statement added.
“We hope as a team that the fans and general public will respect our decision which has been a hard one.
“It’s bad timing that such an event is so close to the death of Mal, who was much more than a rider to the team and the Burrows family.”
Malachi’s funeral service will be held on Tuesday in Charnock Richard, Chorley in Lancashire.
Meanwhile, Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne headed the free practice times yesterday at Brands Hatch on the Be Wiser Ducati, narrowly squeezing out Tyco
BMW’s Michael Laverty by 0.196 seconds at the Kent circuit in round three of the MCE British Superbike Championship.
Byrne’s team-mate and series rookie Glenn Irwin was 16 th fastest, almost seven tenths slower, with fellow Ulsterman and new North West 200 record-holder Alastair Seeley in 18 th after the opening day on the RAF Reserves/Briggs BMW.
Japanese rider Ryuichi Kiyonari has been ruled out of the event after breaking his collarbone in a crash at Graham Hill Bend.
In the Supersport class, Andy Reid was second fastest on the Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki in first qualifying, losing out to Tarran Mackenzie by only 0.056s.
Andrew Irwin was 13 th fastest on the Appleyard Macadam Yamaha with David Allingham in 15 th on the time sheets (EHA Yamaha). The Sprint race is scheduled to take place this afternoon at 3.10pm.
In the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 class, Buildbase BMW’s Taylor Mackenzie set the pace by 0.194 seconds from Ian Hutchinson (Tyco BMW), with Oulton Park winner Keith Farmer third quickest on the Quay Garage Honda.
Fresh from the North West 200, Michael Rutter was fifth in first qualifying on the Bathams SMT BMW while reigning champion Josh Elliott (Tyco BMW) was sixth.
Ballinamallard rider Elliott’s three fastest laps were disallowed after he was penalised for ‘multiple laps touring’.
Carl Phillips continues to impress in the Superstock 600 class, heading the times on the Sandown Kawasaki yesterday in Q1.
Meanwhile, Eugene Laverty crashed unhurt during second practice yesterday at Mugello ahead of tomorrow’s MotoGP round in Italy.
Laverty ended FP2 in 19 th place on the Aspar Ducati.
talian rider Andrea Iannone was fastest (Ducati) ahead of reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo.