Road racing community to unite to say goodbye to Malachi
THE funeral of a young road racer who lost his life at this year's North West 200 will take place in England today.
Hundreds of motorcycles and cars are expected to form a special escort for Malachi Mitchell-Thomas at the request of his family.
"He would love the noise and your company," his father Kevin said.
The 20-year-old, from Chorley in Lancashire, died after a crash during the Supertwins race on May 14, the fifth death at the event in eight years.
Tipped as a future star of the sport, he had already won three races at the Mid Antrim 150 last month and had four podium finishes at the Tandragee 100, as well as winning at the Cookstown 100.
He finished fourth in another race at the North West 200 on the day of his crash.
Mr Mitchell-Thomas's funeral cortege will travel from Horwich to Charnock Richard Crematorium in Chorley for a service at 4pm today.
The Facebook group 'Malachi's Final Journey', set up by Kevin Thomas, has invited bikes or cars to ride out with the funeral cortège.
Those attending are also being encouraged to wear their racing team wear.
"Let's make it look like a racing paddock," Mr Thomas said.
The grieving father plans to scatter his son's ashes on the course of the Isle of Man TT.
In a statement on Saturday, the Cookstown-based Burrows Engineering team, whom Malachi was racing for at the time of his death, confirmed that "after much thought and consideration" it will carry on competing and will be represented at the 2016 Isle of Man TT races.
"We hope as a team that the fans and general public will respect our decision which has been a hard one. It's bad timing that such an event is so close to the death of Mal who was much more than a rider to the team and the Burrows family," the team said.
Another rider who crashed at this year's North West 200, Ryan Farquhar, remains "seriously ill" after being returned to intensive care on Sunday.
The Dungannon man, a five time winner at the circuit, had been moved out of intensive care on May 16 following his crash four days earlier.
Despite suffering serious chest and shoulder injuries the 40-year-old had appeared to be on the mend, even posting a smiling picture with his thumb up on Thursday, but in an update from the Belfast trust yesterday it was confirmed that he remained 'seriously ill' at the Royal Victoria Hospital.