Hundreds of bikers turned out on Sunday to participate in a special tribute lap around the North West 200 course in memory of English road racer Malachi Mitchell-Thomas.
The rising young star was tragically killed following a crash in the second Supertwins race, leading to the abandonment of the international road race in May.
Mitchell-Thomas only made his Irish road racing debut this season but made an instant impact, clinching a stunning hat-trick at the Mid Antrim 150 in April for the Cookstown B.E. Racing team.
A former winner of the Senior Manx Grand Prix, ‘MMT’ was destined for the top in the sport and the 20-year-old from Chorley in Lancashire showed his class with an excellent ride to fourth place in the Supersport class at the North West.
Sadly, his life was cut short but his memory lives on and the excellent turnout in Portrush on Sunday illustrated the impact Malachi made on so many fans in such a short space of time.
Cookstown B.E. Racing team boss John Burrows said: “It seems there were around 500-600 motorbikes that turned out on Sunday and it was nice that so many people made the effort, because they were there for one reason only and that was to remember Malachi and all the other riders who have lost their lives at the North West.
“I completed a lap on a scooter and took my son Jack on behind me. It was nice to take part because the whole time you were on the circuit, you were thinking solely about Malachi.
“From our point of view, he was very close to us but it was good to have that final tribute,” he added.
“Malachi’s funeral took place in England, so this gave people here who watched him race at the Mid Antrim, Tandragee and Cookstown the opportunity to come out and pay their respects as well.
“It was a moving day but a nice day under the circumstances and thankfully the weather held off for us,” Burrows said.
“Mal’s dad Kevin was there obviously and he was giving high-fives to all the riders who took part as they completed their lap, so he was pleased with the turnout and it was another chance to remember Malachi and say goodbye.”
Ryan Farquhar, who was seriously injured in a crash in the Supertwins race at the North West 200, attended the tribute lap with his wife Karen and daughters Keeley and Mya.