Senior Manx Grand Prix winner Malachi Mitchell-Thomas will lead the charge for John Burrows’ Cookstown-backed BE Racing team in 2016.
The 20-year-old from Bolton in north-west England is regarded as one of the brightest young talents in road racing and takes over from Ballyclare man Jamie Hamilton, who is recovering from serious injuries sustained in a life-threatening crash at the Isle of Man TT in June.
Mitchell-Thomas only made his road racing bow in 2014 and finished second in the Supersport class behind Conor Cummins in the Corlett’s Trophies 600/1000 race at the Southern 100.
At last year’s Manx Grand Prix, he also finished second behind promising prospect Billy Redmayne in the Newcomers A race, with less than two seconds between the pair at the finish.
Mitchell-Thomas added another coat of polish to his reputation in September when he won the blue riband Senior race at the Manx, setting a new lap record of 122.22mph.
He caught the eye of former racer-turned-team-owner Burrows, who feels his new signing has a big future ahead of him in the sport.
“I spoke to a number of well-established riders as well as Malachi about joining the team, but after much thought, I decided to offer Malachi the full-time ride,” said Burrows, who confirmed that Mitchell-Thomas will contest the three major international road races at the North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix in 2016 plus the Southern 100 and selected Irish National meetings.
“I believe he is a truly outstanding prospect and deserves a chance with a professional team and competitive machinery. I think he is the man to keep Burrows Engineering Racing at the forefront of road racing.
“Malachi will ride for us in the big three international road races, the Southern 100 and selected Irish national meetings, kicking off his campaign at Kirkistown on Easter Monday,” Burrows added.
“He has been over to Ireland recently and he took the opportunity to do reconnaissance laps at Cookstown and Tandragee as well as getting acquainted with the team and the bikes he will ride.
“He will have Supertwin, 600 and 1000cc machinery at his disposal next year as well as a 125GP machine, which will allow him to get some extra track time at the circuits he is not familiar with.”
Burrows revealed that Jamie Hamilton will continue to play a role within the team as he battles his way back to fitness and confirmed that a second, as yet unnamed rider, will join Mitchell-Thomas in the Superbike class at the North West, TT and ‘selected Irish road races’.
“Malachi may be relatively inexperienced but Jamie Hamilton and I will be on hand to help him learn all the new circuits, so I’m confident he will quickly be on the pace at the various venues,” Burrows said.
“Jamie will be involved with the team full-time this year as his recovery from injury continues and his track knowledge, and his knowledge of the machinery, will be invaluable to Malachi.
“Burrows Engineering Racing will have a second Superbike rider for the NW200, Isle of Man TT and selected Irish meetings. The name of that rider will be revealed in due course along with a full list of our sponsors and supporters,” said Burrows.
“Cookstown will be our title sponsor again in 2016, it will be great for my successful long-term relationship with the famous pork producers to continue.”
Mitchell-Thomas was a top class, race-winning Supermoto rider before he made the transition to road racing last year.
He was a leading light in both the British and European Supermoto championships and has the distinction of being the youngest ever rider to be selected to represent Great Britain at the Supermoto of Nations event.
In 2012, aged just 16, he was invited to compete at the inaugural Simoncelli Foundation Supermoto Charity event at Latina, Italy, where he raced against Max Biaggi, Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi.
This season, Mitchell-Thomas claimed top-six finishes in the British Superstock 600 series at Donington, Oulton and Brands Hatch after scoring regular points in the class in 2014.