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Burrows' BE Racing ready to sizzle in 'Big Three'

By Paul Lindsay

Published 11/02/2016

On board: John Burrows and his Cookstown BE Racing team’s new signing Malachi Mitchell-Thomas
On board: John Burrows and his Cookstown BE Racing team’s new signing Malachi Mitchell-Thomas
jAMIE HAMILTON

John Burrows' Cookstown BE Racing team has already secured the services of Senior Manx Grand Prix winner Malachi Mitchell-Thomas and multiple Irish champion Dubliner Derek Sheils for 2016, and next week the Dungannon businessman will add an international road race winner to his line-up for this season's 'Big Three' internationals.

"We're only a small privateer team and the goal is to have fun, but we're not playing at it and want competitive riders on the bikes," explained Burrows, who quit racing himself back in 2012 after the untimely death of his close friend Trevor Ferguson.

Burrows' latest announcement is being kept tightly under wraps until next week, but with Carrick's Glenn Irwin also in line for a Cookstown BE Racing Supertwin ride at the North West 200 - it's fair to say, his relaxed demeanour shouldn't be misjudged.

Smiling, he replied candidly: "The deal with Glenn all depends on whether he can be released for the North West by Paul Bird.

"He has secured himself a top class BSB ride and I wouldn't want him to jeopardise that in any way," he added.

"In the same breath, Paul (Bird) has been about racing long enough and brought many of his riders to Portrush to understand that having been on a NW200 podium already, Glenn now wants a win.

"But as I say, his BSB ride comes first, understandably, so we will wait and see what materialises," added Burrows.

His team should sizzle too, as it boasts sponsorship support from one of Northern Ireland's leading and best-loved companies - Cookstown Meats - made famous in the 1960s by George Best, when the Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend promoted their sausages in a Network Television advert.

"My deal with Cookstown came about a bit by accident, but yes they are understandably proud of that connection with George Best and recently had a plaque erected at the main entrance," he said.

"So it's nice to be associated with them and hopefully we can do them proud in our own way," added Burrows of the brand that is headed up by a very enthusiastic motorcycling fan.

Burrows is looking forward to the season ahead with 20-year-old Senior Manx Grand Prix winner Mitchell-Thomas and former multiple Irish road and circuit champion Sheils.

"The lad spoke to Mar-Train and ourselves on a visit over to Northern Ireland at the end of last year, and I suppose the lure of racing three or four bikes on a weekend tipped the balance in our favour," said Burrows, whose Cookstown BE Racing team will provide 125cc, 600cc and 1000cc machinery for the former British and European Supermoto ace.

"He actually rode Supermoto last weekend at the bike show and finished second and third to Davy McKee, so he's no slouch," said Burrows.

"It was a good way for the young lad to spend time with the team and he fitted in really well, just like Jamie did," he said of Ballyclare racer Jamie Hamilton who was badly injured at last year's Isle of Man TT.

Hamilton (pictured) is currently on the road to recovery after his horror smash on the island last June, however, family man Burrows will be using his experience to assist with his latest signing, as he explained.

"Jamie is still very much part of our team and although I haven't discussed the extent of his involvement for 2016, what I envisage, is him passing on his track knowledge to Malachi and being there to assist him," he said.

With hard-charging Dubliner Sheils hungry to grab back the Irish Superbike title on the national scene in 2016, young Thomas is a huge TT prospect for the future; not forgetting Glenn Irwin and the upcoming high-profile announcement - it would be fair to say, we will be hearing quite a bit about the Cookstown BE Racing team this season.

Belfast Telegraph

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