Rea moves into pole position for coveted Irish prize
World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea is leading the field to be crowned the Cornmarket Irish Motorcyclist of the Year.
But the Ballyclare man faces stiff competition for the title, in association with the Enkalon Club, from the rest of the 20-strong list. Voting opens today, with the winner being presented with the Joey Dunlop Trophy at the sell-out Cornmarket Motorbike Awards at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Belfast, on Friday, January 29.
Rea clinched the World Superbike crown riding his factory backed Kawasaki and followed in the famous footsteps of Ralph Bryans, Dunlop and Brian Reid to become just the fourth World champion from Northern Ireland.
Among the other contenders are British 1000cc Superstock champion Josh Elliott, North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix winner Lee Johnston and Alastair Seeley - a treble winner at the North West and runner-up in the British Superstock 1000cc series.
Last year's Young Rider of the Year, Andy Reid, is also in the running after he secured his first victory in the British Supersport championship.
Three sets of brothers are also nominated. Michael Laverty finished fourth in the competitive British Superbike Championship, while Eugene Laverty enjoyed a good MotoGP debut season.
Glenn Irwin finished fourth in British Supersport, while brother Graeme was sixth in the British MX1 motocross championship and second in the MX National.
And William Dunlop became a double Irish champion and Duke Road Race Rankings winner for the first time while sibling Michael is now the second fastest rider in TT history after a lap of 132.515mph.
Also on the list of nominations are Martin Barr, Ryan Rainey, Robert English, Dean Colhoun, Glenn McCormick, Robert Hamilton, Alistair Kirk, Derek McGee, and Derek Sheils.
The public can cast their vote on http://enterprise.questionpro.com/a/TakeSurvey?id=4370177 and it will be overseen by an expert panel of judges chaired by former British Champion Adrian Coates.
A dozen other awards will be presented at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Belfast. The event is sold out, but you can be placed on a waiting list by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 07584058810.