Irish race team owner John Burrows says the tragic death of young prospect Malachi Mitchell-Thomas at the North West 200 has spoken of his shock over the tragedy.
The 20-year-old, who joined Burrows' Cookstown/B.E. Racing team for 2016, came off while holding third place in Saturday's Supertwins race and sadly died at the scene.
Burrows, himself a former racer, has been left reeling by the accident: 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,” Burrows added.
“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.”
Burrows was also due to run Peter Hickman at the Isle of Man TT this year in the Lightweight race on a Kawasaki Supertwins, but says his plans are on hold for now.
“I've been asked what my racing plans are but for now my thoughts are with Malachi's family,” he said.
“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.”