Belfast Telegraph

Malachi makes it a debut to remember

By Paul Lindsay

A unique name like Malachi Mitchell-Thomas was never going to be easy to forget, but after taking three wins on his pure road racing debut over the weekend at the JMF Haulage Mid Antrim 150; a number of fastest laps, two second places and the man of the meeting award - I think the Bolton Bullet is going to be a welcome 'shot in the arm' for National Road Racing this season.

It's not often we see newcomers in a fluorescent bib go on to dominate between the hedges on their road racing debut, but Mitchell-Thomas did just that, thanks to the support of his Cookstown B.E Racing squad - headed up by astute businessman and former racer John Burrows.

The youngster converted his fledgling knowledge of the very fast and technical Mid Antrim 150 circuit into a debut victory in the Supersport class on Friday evening, as well as taking pole position for the Supertwin class and a front row Superbike time alongside his Cookstown B.E Racing team-mate Derek Sheils.

Speaking after Friday night's win, the Senior Manx Grand Prix champion and lap record holder said of his national road racing debut: "It's exactly what I expected and I loved it but we will not get carried away."

Rivers of water, a quagmire of mud in the Mid Antrim 150 paddock and a stoppage for an oil spill didn't faze the youngster, who picked up where he left off less than 24-hours earlier - taking a hard-fought victory and fastest lap to boot, in the Gregg's Transport Superbike race over his more illustrious Cookstown B.E Racing team-mate Derek Sheils.

His Supersport double and Mid Antrim 150 event hat-trick was completed in the Hill Contracts Supersport race, where he was in full control throughout; again setting a fastest lap aboard his Cookstown B.E Racing machine, en route to a 2.4-second victory over Michael Sweeney, with Paul Jordan third.

Bolton lad Mitchell-Thomas was looking to make even more history in the Clough GRSC Supertwin outing from his pole position spot, but despite recording another fastest lap, Dungannon's Ryan Farquhar put an embargo on the youngster's aspirations of equalling his unprecedented five wins from the 2010 and 2012 seasons.

Farquhar took a slender victory over Mitchell-Thomas by just 7/100ths of a second at the chequered flag, with Michael Sweeney again in the podium mix, three seconds further adrift in third.

Derek Sheils completed a perfect day for the Cookstown B.E Racing team, taking the JMF Building Services Grand Final victory ahead of his young team-mate, who was awarded the man of the Meeting accolade for his three wins and two second-placed finishes - all recorded as a national road racing newcomer.

Magherafelt's Paul Jordan was the Moto3 [125cc] class winner with Neil Kernohan taking the 250cc class victory. Ryan Farquhar increased his national road racing career win total to 208 after taking a brave at Mid Antrim in the Lightweight and the aforementioned Supertwin races.

Mid Antrim 150 Results:

JMF Building Services Grand Final: 1 - Derek Sheils; 2 - Malachi Mitchell-Thomas; 3 - Michael Sweeney; 4 - Colin Stephenson; 5 - Paul Cranston; 6 - Neil Kernohan

Clough GRSC Supertwin: 1 - Ryan Farquhar; 2 - Malachi Mitchell-Thomas; 3 - Michael Sweeney; 4 - Michael Dokoupil; 5 - Paul Jordan; 6 - Marc Ironside

Hill Contracts Supersport: 1 - Malachi Mitchell-Thomas; 2 - Michael Sweeney; 3 - Paul Jordan; 4 - Wayne Kirwin; 5 - Colin Stephenson; 6 - Michael Dokoupil

Wilson's Senior Support: 1 - Kris Duncan; 2 - Allan Brodie; 3 - Sean Seddon; 4 - Vinny Brennan; 5 - Steven Clarke; 6 - Robert Cairns

Gregg's Transport Superbike: 1 - Malachi Mitchell-Thomas; 2 - Derek Sheils; 3 - Michael Sweeney; 4 - Ryan Farquhar; 5 - Paul Jordan; 6 - Colin Stephenson

Spares & Repairs two-stroke: 1 - Rhys Hardisty; 2 - Paul Robinson; 3 - Paul Jordan; 4 - Adam McLean; 5 - Nigel Moore; 6 - Sam Dunlop

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