The late Malachi Mitchell-Thomas. Picture: Pacemaker Belfast.
THREE years on from the tragic death of Englishman Malachi Mitchell-Thomas, North West 200 Event Director Mervyn Whyte has paid a poignant tribute to the former Manx Grand Prix winner.
Recently, the Limavady man admitted that the death of the Chorley rider proved a bitter pill to swallow after the 20-year-old was killed following a crash during the 2016 Supertwin Race.
Speaking to Chronicle Sport, Whyte said: “Malachi was special - he was his own man and I have no doubt that the young lad had a bright future.
“He came here in his rookie season and won at Cookstown and Tandragee, so he was in good form coming into the North West.
“It was obvious that Malachi wanted that rostrum finish at the North West that year - and he almost got it.
“I attended his cremation at his home town over in England and it was so terribly sad,” continued Whyte.
“It certainly made me think because situations like that are testing and you never realize that until you are actually in one, but it is part and parcel of the job.”
Whyte, who is now in his fiftieth year with the Coleraine and District Motor Club event, also admitted that this year’s grid is the “best ever”.
Messrs Harrison, Dunlop, Irwin, Seeley and Hickman are all preparing to do battle around the famous 8.9-mile Triangle course on Thursday evening and again 48 hours later on Saturday.
John McGuinness makes his eagerly anticipated return on the Norton at an event which almost ended his career two years ago.
With bikes now on the circuit, Whyte said he was excited about what was in store during Race Week.
“It is such a special year for the North West 200 and everything is in place now, so we are ready to go,” he said.
“The team here have put in a lot of work over the last twelve month and we are all excited to get underway. Hopefully we have a safe and entertaining week of racing on the north Coast,” he added.