Belfast Telegraph

Friday 27 May 2016

World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea honoured by third Irish Rider of Year crown

By Roy Harris

Published 30/01/2016

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016:The nominees for the Irish Motorcyclist of the Year trophy Lee Johnston, Michael Laverty, Josh Elliott, Glenn Irwin, Alastair Seeley and winner Jonathan Rea are pictured at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards in Belfast on Friday night with Sam Geddis of Cornmarket.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016:The nominees for the Irish Motorcyclist of the Year trophy Lee Johnston, Michael Laverty, Josh Elliott, Glenn Irwin, Alastair Seeley and winner Jonathan Rea are pictured at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards in Belfast on Friday night with Sam Geddis of Cornmarket. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016:Irish Motorcyclist of the Year winner Jonathan Rea celebrates with the Joey Dunlop Trophy at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards in Belfast on Friday night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016: The late Dr John Hinds received the Special Recognition award at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards and received a standing ovation. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016: Michael and John Laverty collect the Special Recognition award from Richard Nichols on behalf of the late Dr John Hinds at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016: Yvonne Ward and Jan Simm of the Injured Riders Fund were the winners of the Services to Motorcycling Award at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016: Winner of the Best Rider on UK and Irish circuits, Josh Elliott, receives his trophy from Jim Gracey of the Belfast Telegraph at the Cornmarket Irish Motorcyclist of the Year awards in Belfast on Friday night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016:Irish Motorcyclist of the Year winner Jonathan Rea celebrates with the Joey Dunlop Trophy at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards in Belfast on Friday night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016:Winner of the Race of the Year, Andy Reid celebrates at the Cornmarket Irish Motorcyclist of the Year awards in Belfast on Friday night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016: Winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award, Lee Johnston, charts with presenter Jackie Fullerton at the Cornmarket Irish Motorcyclist of the Year awards in Belfast on Friday night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016: Winner of the Best Rider on UK and Irish circuits, Josh Elliott, receives his trophy from Jim Gracey of the Belfast Telegraph at the Cornmarket Irish Motorcyclist of the Year awards in Belfast on Friday night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016: 2015 Irish Motorcyclist of the Year winner Jonathan Rea pictured with members of the Enkalon club at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016: Stephen Thompson with his partner Charlotte, brother Paul and Dad, Sefton pictured at the Irish Motorcyclist of the Year Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards in Belfast on Friday night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016: Tonya McNally collects the Hall of Fame award on behalf of her late husband Owen McNally from Michael Shaw and Stephen Henderson at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016: 2015 Irish Motorcyclist of the Year winner Jonathan Rea receives his trophy from Cornmarket's Sam Geddis and David Weir of the Enkalon club at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016: Tyco BMW's Josh Elliott and Michael Laverty pictured at the Irish Motorcyclist of the Year Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards in Belfast on Friday night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016:Irish Motorcyclist of the Year winner Jonathan Rea pictured with his brother Richard and father Johnny at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards in Belfast on Friday night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016: Roger Magee of KTM/Hitachi receives the Team of the Year award from John Wilson at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016: Kevin Keyes,the winner of the Young Rider of the Year, at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016:Irish Motorcyclist of the Year winner Jonathan Rea celebrates with the Joey Dunlop Trophy at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards in Belfast on Friday night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016:Irish Motorcyclist of the Year winner Jonathan Rea celebrates with the Joey Dunlop Trophy at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards in Belfast on Friday night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016:The nominees for the Irish Motorcyclist of the Year trophy Lee Johnston, Michael Laverty, Josh Elliott, Glenn Irwin, Alastair Seeley and winner Jonathan Rea are pictured at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards in Belfast on Friday night with Sam Geddis of Cornmarket. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016:Irish Motorcyclist of the Year winner Jonathan Rea celebrates with the Joey Dunlop Trophy at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards in Belfast on Friday night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016:Irish Motorcyclist of the Year winner Jonathan Rea celebrates with the Joey Dunlop Trophy at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards in Belfast on Friday night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016:Irish Motorcyclist of the Year winner Jonathan Rea celebrates with the Joey Dunlop Trophy at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards in Belfast on Friday night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016:Irish Motorcyclist of the Year winner Jonathan Rea celebrates with the Joey Dunlop Trophy at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards in Belfast on Friday night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/1/2016: Road racer and special award winner at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards, Lee Johnston is pictured with his mum Audrey, father Everitt, sister Natalie and girlfriend, Christie in Belfast on Friday night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Jonathan Rea hoisted the iconic Joey Dunlop Trophy aloft last night and received a standing ovation after being named Irish Motorcyclist of the Year - in association with Enkalon MCC - during the sell-out Cornmarket Motorbike Awards at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Belfast.

Rea was winning the award for the third time after previous success in 2007 and 2008, but this time was special, coming on the back of winning the 2015 World Superbike Championship, only the fourth Irish rider to be crowned a World champion following Ralph Bryans, Joey Dunlop and Brian Reid.

Thrilled Kawasaki rider Rea said: "I am humbled to return to Northern Ireland as World champion and receive such a reception. It was always a goal of mine and it is even more of an honour to win this amazing trophy for the third time.

"Joey was always a hero of mine and to be voted Irish Motorcyclist of the Year by the general public is mega. I could not have achieved the championship without the support of many people throughout my career, most of all my family."

It was 12 years ago that a 16-year-old Rea won the Red Bull Young Rider of the Year award and the standing ovation that he received last night was testament to his skill and popularity at having reached the pinnacle of his sport.

Rea was a double winner on the night, also picking up the Black Horse Short Circuit Rider of the Year award.

The Garmin Young Rider of the Year went to 18-year-old Kevin Keyes from Edenderry, who took his talents to the inaugural KTM Junior Cup at BSB meetings and finished the season in second position, taking five wins along the way.

There was another deafening reception for Ian Hutchinson as he was declared IFS International Road Racer of the Year on the back of his TT treble having returned from a horrendous career-threatening leg injury in 2010, battling back to the top step through sheer determination following some 30 operations.

Belleek National Road Racer of the Year went to double Irish champion William Dunlop, who went through the Irish National Supersport Road Race season undefeated riding the CD/IC Yamaha.

The JWA Team of the Year prize went to the Hitachi KTM UK Team ran by Crossgar businessman Roger Magee, who saw his rider Shaun Simpson win the British MX1 Motocross Championship and take an MXGP overall victory in Holland on his way to fourth in the World championship.

Three-wheel sidecar cross duo Neil Campbell and Ross Graham won the Kawasaki UK Off Road Award, the pair winning the Ulster title for the fourth year in a row.

Road racer Lee Johnston received the Digital Printing Outstanding Achievement Award for his charity campaign against cancer.

The Belfast Telegraph Best Rider on UK and Irish circuits went to British Superstock 1000cc champion Josh Elliott from Ballinamallard, while the Noonan Services to Motorcycling went to the Injured Riders Fund.

Inducted into the RPS Group Hall of Fame was the late Owen McNally, a hugely talented rider who lost his life following a high-speed crash during the 1999 Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod.

Owen lived on the North West 200 course and was a 250cc winner there in 1997, winning an Ulster Grand Prix 250cc race in the same year. He left the sport with a lasting legacy as a top flight international rider.

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