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Last-ditch call to put racer Jonathan Rea on shortlist

By Rebecca Black

Published 14/12/2015

Popular: Jonathan Rea
Popular: Jonathan Rea

Fans of Superbike world champion Jonathan Rea have made a belated call for the motorcyclist to be added to the shortlist for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year Award.

Almost 1,000 people have signed an online petition urging the BBC to add the Larne man to the list.

The lavish ceremony will take place in Belfast next Sunday, but has been hit by controversy after Tyson Fury was added to the shortlist.

The world heavyweight champion has been criticised for his views on homosexual people, women and abortion.

Now motor racing fans have criticised the shortlist, saying they believe their beloved sport has been left out, and pointed to the hosting of the event in Belfast as the perfect opportunity to honour Rea.

In a letter to the Belfast Telegraph, retired Cookstown racer Baylon McCaughey pointed out that in 2015, Rea brought home the first Superbike world title to Northern Ireland since Brian Reid and Joey Dunlop in the 1980s.

"Jonathan is the fourth Northern Irish world champion, with Ralph Bryans being the first back in 1965," he said.

"If the word personality comes into play, I think the list is already lessened.

"Surely, Jonathan Rea deserves to be included in the voting list," he added.

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