Cookstown B.E. Racing team owner John Burrows says he has been left devastated by the death of young rider Malachi Mitchell-Thomas at the North West 200 on Saturday.
The 20-year-old died at the scene after he crashed in the Supertwins race between Dhu Varren and Black Hill – the same place where Ryan Farquhar was involved in a serious crash in Thursday’s 650cc race.
Burrows signed the young English rider for 2016 after being impressed by his victory last September in the Senior Manx Grand Prix.
The former racer turned team owner said: “The whole team has been devastated by Malachi’s death, to be honest everyone is in a state of shock. Of course, Malachi’s loss will be felt most by his family and his close friends and I’d like to offer my heartfelt condolences to his nearest and dearest.
“Malachi had only been with the team a few months but he quickly became part of the family and we will all miss him so much. He loved life and racing and the talent and enthusiasm just bubbled out of him. He was a joy to be around.
“Before he started the Supertwins race he had a massive smile on his face as he has just ridden the race of his life, finishing fourth in the Supersport race ahead of the likes of Dean Harrison, John McGuinness and James Hillier. I will never forget that smile, it’s just so cruel that we have lost him,” added Burrows.
“I’ve been asked what my racing plans are but for now my thoughts are with Malachi’s family.
“Malachi’s father Kevin wants the team to race on but I want time to consider everything and I’ll make an announcement in due course.
“In the immediate future all I’m focused on is giving my support to Malachi’s family and helping the team get through a very difficult period.”