Belfast Telegraph

Malachi Mitchell-Thomas is in the mix for NW 200 glory

By Paul Lindsay

Malachi Mitchell-Thomas has taken the National Road Racing scene by storm this season with wins and podiums at Mid Antrim, Tandragee and Cookstown.

Next week the 20-year-old will make his debut at the Vauxhall International North West 200 and, despite his newcomer status, the Senior Manx Grand Prix winner has his sights set on a debut top step.

Riding under the Cookstown B.E Racing banner, Mitchell-Thomas has already showcased his prodigious talent at the early season smaller events and, in his customary laid back demeanour, he explained that, 'he will not be approaching the North West 200 any differently'.

"Every race that I've ridden this year with Cookstown B.E Racing has been new to me, and if anything the North West 200 should be easier to learn, with longer practice sessions than the five laps we get at the nationals," said the former Supermoto racer, who was testing a ZXR750 Kawasaki yesterday in preparation for this year's Classic TT Superbike race at the end of August.

A hat-trick was recorded on his National Road Racing debut at the Mid Antrim 150 and but for a mechanical problem he looked a sure bet to win the Supertwin race at the Tandragee 100 over Supertwin specialist Ryan Farquhar.

He did go on to rectify that by taking victory at the Cookstown 100, but with Tandragee winner Farquhar not on the grid at the Orritor circuit, young Mitchell-Thomas will have to wait until next week to take on the record-breaking Dungannon man at the Vauxhall International North West 200.

"I've ridden with some decent riders already and beaten them, so I don't see any reason why I can't grab a podium at the North West or even a win," he said.

"Between us, John and I have improved our Supertwin even further since the start of the season and I know Ryan will be hard to beat, as will a number of others as it's an international road race, but I'm mentally and physically prepared. I'm up for the win."

British Superbike star Glenn Irwin made his debut at last year's Vauxhall International North West 200 and, despite also having similar aspirations of a win on his debut, the Carrickfergus rider had to settle for a podium in the Supersport class.

"I know people will see the Supertwin class as my best chance, but I'd really like to replicate at least what Glenn did last year, "said Malachi.

"I really don't see why we can't be up there in the Supersport class," added the Bolton rider, who if the rumour mill is correct, will be riding a Supersport bike that has a little bit of history attached.

With the current rules only allowing a newcomer to compete in three races at the NW200, the Cookstown B.E Racing youngster will concentrate on the Supertwin and Supersport races, but is also keen to show what he's made of aboard the Cookstown B.E Racing Superstock Suzuki.

It sounds like he's out to make a little bit of history and join 10-time Vauxhall International North West 200 winner Bruce Anstey, who also won on his debut back in 2002.

I wouldn't bet against it.

Belfast Telegraph


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