Belfast Telegraph

Motorcyclist Rea is first to make it a treble

By Roy Harris

World Superbike star Jonathan Rea last night became the first rider to win the Adelaide Irish Motorcyclist of the Year Award for a third time.

Rea received the award at a packed Ramada Plaza Hotel in Belfast, with the Laverty brothers Eugene and Michael, both previous winners, second and third.

The 23-year-old impressed the Irish Racer magazine judging panel after a magnificent 2010 in the hotly contested World Superbike Championship, taking four wins and 10 podiums, which included a double at Assen on his way to fourth place in the series.

The Ballyclare man, now based in the Isle of Man, has won every award available to a short circuit rider in the eight years the Racer Awards have been in existence.

It was a tremendous year for local competitors racing outside Northern Ireland, and although he finished runner-up in the World Supersport series, last year’s award winner Eugene Laverty had to settle for second spot this time around. His brother Michael took third after a magnificent season in the British Superbike Championship, where he finished in fourth place.

In the Blackhorse Short Circuit rider of the Year category Rea made it a double success on the night, again beating the Lavertys into second and third position.

Marshall Neill received a well deserved Short Circuit Merit Award for winning the Irish Superbike Championship.

Ian Hutchinson won the IFS International Road Racer of the Year Award after taking an unprecedented 10 International Road Racing victories, including another major milestone — the first rider ever to win all five solo races during a TT.

Ryan Farquhar scooped the Fabdraw Irish Road Racer of the Year title and was also presented with his Duke Road Race Rankings title trophy after taking his fifth win in eight years.

The Red Bull Young Rider of the Year Award went to Glenn Irwin who retained the Irish Supersport Championship in 2010, also lifting the Mondello Park Supersport award.

Relentless Suzuki by TAS regained the Greenlight Team of the Year Award, the Moneymore-based outfit scoring a memorable double at the North West 200 through Alastair Seeley.

The Carrickfergus man, along with Michael Laverty, finished in the top six of the British Superbike Championship, and the team ended the season on a high with Bruce Anstey becoming the fastest road racer in the world following his 133.97mph lap — on his way to victory in the final race at the Ulster Grand Prix.

Seeley’s outstanding North West 200 Superbike race victory, the first local Superbike victory since Phillip McCallen 13 years ago, was voted the Jet2.com Fans’ Race of the Year.

The IAM Safety Award went to the MCUI (UC) Medical Team while the Adelaide International Achievement Award went to double sidecar TT winner, Austrian Klaus Klaffenbock.

Inducted into the Bridgestone Hall of Fame was versatile 77-year-old Belfast man Sammy Miller MBE. A world-class road racer in his day, he was three times a North West 200 winner — in 1956, ’57 and ’58. Sammy was also a distinguished Trials competitor winning the solo British Trials Championship 11 years in succession from 1959 through to 1969.

The Arai Lifetime Achievement Award was given posthumously to the late great Joey Dunlop MBE OBE, fittingly collected by his family amid a rousing reception.

A special presentation was made to former road racing champion Leslie McMaster, re-uniting him with his Manx Grand Prix replicas from 1989, which he lost some years ago in a house fire.

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