Malachi Mitchell-Thomas lived life as the superhuman he wanted to be, father tells mourners
The heartbroken father of a young rider killed at the North West 200 told his funeral how his son turned into the person he had dreamt of becoming.
Hundreds of bikers turned out to pay their final respects to Malachi Mitchell-Thomas in Chorley, Lancashire, yesterday.
People from Northern Ireland were among the mourners who accompanied the 20-year-old's cortege from Rivington through Horwich to his funeral service at Charnock Richard Crematorium.
Malachi was an up-and-coming star on the road racing circuit.
During the service Malachi's father Kevin Mitchell gave a short eulogy and started with a joke: "I won't keep you long as Malachi would be moaning that we're losing valuable drinking time."
Relatives, school friends and members of the biking community were among those who listened intently to Mr Mitchell's words.
He continued: "At the age of three or four he said: 'I'm going to have a superhuman body.'
"He lived as that man. For a moment in his life he turned into the person he had dreamt of.
"The boy was super happy and totally content. He did what he did best.
"I can't thank everybody enough for coming. He would have been made up."
Mourners smiled and hugged as they were played a recording of a news report and Malachi's post-race interview after he won the 2015 Senior Manx Grand Prix and clocked the fastest lap with a speed of more than 122mph.
Ahead of the service, bikers on all types of motorcycle, trikes and Harley Davidson's created a moving procession along with drivers in high-powered sports cars and modified hot hatchbacks.
In a poignant mark of respect pupils at his old secondary school lined up outside the school gates to clap as his cortege passed.
Outriders were provided by the Northwest Blood Bikes Lancashire and Lakes charity with the assistance of Lancashire Constabulary.
Lead marshal and charity secretary Graham Miller said: "We expected 500 vehicles and we got that. The turnout has been amazing.
"We were probably two miles long when we got rolling.
"Malachi's family said 'Bring the noise' and I think they have done it with style."
Hundreds of mourners filled the crematorium and its surroundings for the short but touching service, which included a mix of tributes and music. Many were wearing their racing colours or Malachi's favourite colour of pink which he carried through to his helmet design.
Others wore clothing referencing his chosen hashtag of #666 which was reflected in the floral tribute next to the coffin in the hearse.
One of Malachi's Cookstown Burrows Engineering Racing's bikes was put on display with one of his helmets resting on the seat and a pit board resting against the front wheel to help mourners remember the spirited competitor.
Two of those in attendance were young women who had attended high school with the Kawasaki racer and had made special pink T-shirts with his photograph on them to wear in his honour.
Eleanor Strang (19) said: "I knew him since Year 7 and he's been my best friend.
"He gave me his first set of dog tags when he started racing and we were 11 or 12. I wanted to go and see him race but I never actually got the chance. It's been an amazing turnout and I can't believe that so many people came."
One of the dog tag set was inscribed with the epithet: 'Life is short/Work hard/Play harder/Ride hardest/Live longer.'
Karen Lee (20) said her uncle's firm was one of Malachi's helmet sponsors.
She said: "He was a wonderful lad. I can't think anybody could have a bad word to say about him. He's going to be missed by so many people."