Irish road racing newcomer Malachi Mitchell-Thomas made a dream debut at the JFM Haulage Mid Antrim 150 with a brilliant win in the wet in Friday’s opening Supersport 600 race.
The 2015 Manx Grand Prix winner made all the running on John Burrows’ Cookstown B.E. Racing Honda to make a big impression, crossing the line clear of Skerries rider Michael Sweeney in second place at a cold and damp Clough circuit to win the Ballyprint-backed Ulster Championship race.
Colin Stephenson completed the top three well back in third place, narrowly finishing ahead of Neil Kernohan.
Mullingar’s Derek McGee, who qualified on pole, didn’t start the race.
Delighted team boss Burrows, who also saw Derek Sheils bag pole in the Superbike class on his Suzuki GSX-R1000, said: “It’s was Malachi’s first ever Irish National road race and he managed to win first time out. He said he never had any moments out there at all and those conditions probably suit him a bit with his background in Supermoto.
“Michael [Sweeney] finished second to him and he came over afterwards and said he never stepped out of line once, which is what you want to hear about your riders.
“The Clough course is a bit more difficult than Cookstown but not as demanding as Tandragee, so it takes a bit of riding and we did some laps of the course beforehand,” he added.
“Malachi seems to be a quick learner and it’s an excellent start for him.”
On a cold and wet afternoon, Mitchell-Thomas qualified on pole for the Supertwins race ahead of Adam McLean, although Ryan Farquhar clearly had some issues as he was six seconds off the pace in fifth on his SGS KMR Kawasaki.
Farquhar was second quickest behind Sheils in the Superbike class by 1.4 seconds as he prepares to make his roads debut on his new IEG BMW Superstock machine on Saturday.
Mitchell-Thomas earned another front row start on the Burrows Engineering Suzuki Superstock machine, only 0.9 seconds behind Farquhar, with McGee on the Noel Williamson BMW in fourth ahead of Sweeney and Seamus Elliott.
Gary Dunlop, competing in his first ever road race, was fifth fastest overall in the 125GP (Moto3) class on the Joey’s Bar Honda.
Roads close at 10am on Saturday for racing.