Dad's moving tribute to NW200 crash son
The heartbroken father of Malachi Mitchell-Thomas, who lost his life at the North West 200 last Saturday, described his son as "his best friend" as he read the many moving messages placed along with floral tributes at the spot where he crashed.
Kevin Thomas said he will be scattering the ashes of the 20-year-old from Chorley, Lancashire, at the Isle of Man TT races in June. He added: "That is what he wanted me to do - he lived for racing."
The young rider, who had been racing at the North West 200 for the first time, having signed for the Cookstown-based BE Racing Team, crashed during the Supertwins race.
Grief-stricken Kevin added: "I have lost my best friend - I have lost my son, but he died doing what he wanted to do. He did not have a bad bone in his body and nobody had a bad word to say about him."
He went on to thank the paramedics who tried desperately to save Malachi's life at the roadside and praised the event organisers for their help when the race took a tragic turn.
The father and son had been camped in a caravan to the rear of the North West 200 paddock area, and Kevin said his son had been loving the event and was eagerly anticipating the start of the racing.
Jim Gracey, group sports editor of the Belfast Telegraph, described Malachi as "one of the brightest shining young stars who has appeared in motorcyle racing for many, many years".
Following Malachi's death there was an outcry against the often dangerous sport of road racing. However, Malachi's father said he did not agree with people who wanted road racing banned because of the dangers.
He added: "There are risks in everything you do. Mal got knocked off his bike by a car when he was six - he could have been killed then. Yes, it is a dangerous sport, but so are other forms of motorsport. So is horse racing."
Kevin has vowed to continue his involvement with the sport because he said "that is what Mal would have wanted me to do".