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World king Jonathan Rea relishes big Belfast prize night

By Roy Harris

Published 20/01/2016

Favourite: Jonathan Rea is up for Irish Motorcyclist of 2015
Favourite: Jonathan Rea is up for Irish Motorcyclist of 2015

World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea will take a short break from pre-season testing in Spain to make a flying visit to Belfast for the Cornmarket Motorbike Awards on Friday, January 29.

Rea is one of 20 contenders from various disciplines of the sport who are battling it out to be named Irish Motorcyclist of the Year 2015. Fans have been voting in their thousands with Rea favourite to collect the iconic Joey Dunlop Trophy, which is presented in association with Enkalon Motorcycle Club.

The 28-year-old, who clinched the World title in record breaking style last year, says he cannot wait to attend the event.

"The Cornmarket Motorbike Awards are one of the highlights of the year and to celebrate my World title at home is something I look forward to," said Rea, who followed in the footsteps of Ralph Bryans, Brian Reid and Dunlop to become just the fourth ever World champion from Northern Ireland.

"My feet haven't touched the ground since Christmas. I have been to Australia, Thailand and straight to Spain. It's hectic, but I wanted to make sure I was able to fly in for the awards."

Rea had a sensational year in winning the World Superbike crown, amassing 548 points.

Among the other contenders are newly-crowned British Superstock champion Josh Elliott, North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix winner Lee Johnston, joint North West record holder Alastair Seeley and Andy Reid, who secured his first ever British Supersport race victory.

Michael Laverty, who finished fourth in the British Superbike Championship, will be at the awards while local riders Glenn Irwin, Ryan Farquhar, Jeremy McWilliams and William Dunlop are also set to attend.

A dozen other awards will be presented at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Belfast including IFS International Road Racer, JWA Team of the Year, RPS Hall of Fame, Belfast Telegraph Best Rider on UK and Ireland Circuits, Greenlight Special Recognition and the popular A. McLean Race of the Year.

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