Tragic motorbike star Malachi Mitchell-Thomas had “ridden the race of his life” on the day he died, according to his team boss.
The 20-year-old from Adlington died on Saturday after losing control of his Burrows Engineering Kawasaki during the third lap of the Superttwins race at North West 200 in Portrush, Northern Ireland.
Earlier in the day, he had come fourth in the Supersport race at the North West 200.
Cookstown B.E. Racing team owner John Burrows said: “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.”
He added: “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.”
Malachi’s father Kevin Thomas said he had been forced to discuss his involvement in the sport after the death of close friend Billy Redmayne at the Scarborough Spring Cup.
Mr Thomas said: “His decision was that he still wanted to go out, take those risks and be a part of the big road racing family.
“That shows me what I need to do now – I owe it to Mal to carry on.”
He added: “When we were talking about doing the roads for the first time, I asked him, ‘right, would you prefer to beat Valentino Rossi in MotoGP or John McGuinness around the TT?’ He said, ‘you don’t have to ask me that, I’d prefer to beat McGuinness around the TT’.
“He wanted to go road racing and Malachi lived more in his 20 years than I have done in my lifetime.
“I was fortunate that I was able to share those 20 years and be part of the experiences that he made possible.”