John Burrows’ Cookstown BE Racing team has already secured the services of Senior Manx Grand Prix winner Malachi Mitchell-Thomas and multiple Irish champion Dubliner Derek Sheils for 2016, and next week the Dungannon businessman will add an international road race winner to his line-up for this season’s ‘Big Three’ internationals.
“We’re only a small privateer team and the goal is to have fun, but we’re not playing at it and want competitive riders on the bikes,” explained Burrows, who quit racing himself back in 2012 after the untimely death of his close friend Trevor Ferguson.
Carrick’s Glenn Irwin is also in line for a Cookstown BE Racing Supertwin ride at the North West 200 but it isn’t quite a done deal yet.
“The deal with Glenn all depends on whether he can be released for the North West by Paul Bird,” said John. “He has secured himself a top class BSB ride and I wouldn’t want him to jeopardise that in any way,” he added.
“In the same breath, Paul (Bird) has been about racing long enough and brought many of his riders to Portrush to understand that having been on a NW200 podium already, Glenn now wants a win.
“But as I say, his BSB ride comes first, understandably, so we will wait and see what materialises,” added Burrows.
Burrows has a mix of youth and experience with new-signing Mitchell-Thomas.
The 20-year-old from Bolton agreed terms with the Cookstown/BE Racing Team in November and will ride a full stable of bikes, including Supersport, Superstock and Supertwin machinery plus a 125GP Honda.
Ballyclare’s Jamie Hamilton, who was seriously injured in a crash at the Isle of Man TT last year on Burrows’ Suzuki, will remain involved with the team this season as he continues to battle his way back.
“Jamie will be involved with the team full-time this year as his recovery from injury continues,” Burrows said.
“His track knowledge and his knowledge of the machinery will be invaluable to Malachi.”
Dublin’s Derek Sheils has also joined the Cookstown/Burrows Engineering team.
Sheils challenged William Dunlop for the Irish National Superbike crown last year, losing the championship by only six points after a string of impressive rides, including three championship wins at Skerries, Walderstown and Faugheen.
Burrows’ team has also recently secured sponsorship from one of Northern Ireland’s leading companies - Cookstown Meats. The name is synonymous with that famous 1960s ad featuring George Best, when the Manchester United star promoted their sausages in a TV advert.
John, who gave up racing himself in 2012 after the untimely death of his close friend Trevor Ferguson, will be hoping his team can replicate the famopus sizzle on the track this season.