Newcomer Malachi Mitchell-Thomas made a stunning Irish road racing debut at the Mid Antrim 150 on Saturday, where the young prospect claimed a treble.
In his first appearance at the 3.5-mile Clough course, Mitchell-Thomas won both Supersport races, beating Irishman Michael Sweeney, and completed his hat-trick on the Cookstown. B.E. Racing Suzuki Superstock machine with a win in the opening Superbike race.
The Bolton rider also finished second in the feature Superbike race behind team-mate Derek Sheils and chased Ryan Farquhar home in the Supertwins event on a memorable weekend for the 2015 Senior Manx Grand Prix winner.
“Thanks to John [Burrows] and the whole team, they are mega! This is great for my sponsors and also for the team sponsors, as a lot of people, especially John, have put a lot on the line to give me this opportunity,” said Mitchell-Thomas.
“I did some laps in a the car with John before the meeting looking at tip-in points and the like, but as I always do, I worked it out for myself. I'm not one for following others and did my own thing, which is how I prefer it.
“It was a great weekend and I even impressed myself, re-passing both Derek [Sheils] and Ryan [Farquhar] to take the win in the first Superbike race,” he added.
“It was a great weekend all round and gives us something to build on for the season ahead. I'll be back next week to look at the Tandragee 100 circuit, but we will not get carried away.”
Dubliner Sheils turned the tables on his new team-mate to win the big race of the day but was full of praise for Mitchell-Thomas afterwards.
“Fair play to Mal, he came here as a newcomer and put on a great show. From my point of view I'm delighted to take the first Grand Final win of the year on the big Suzuki and it sets us up well for the season ahead.”
Joey Dunlop's son Gary made his road racing debut on Saturday and took fifth place in the 125cc two-stroke race.
The Mid Antrim meeting was back on the calendar for the first time since 2013 and lifted the curtain on the new season, with the Tandragee 100 next up on April 23.