Belfast Telegraph

Jonathan Rea out in front


By Jim Gracey

Triple World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea vowed to leave no stone unturned in his quest for a fourth title after he was crowned Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year last night.

The Ballyclare motorcycle ace won the prestigious accolade following a golden year in 2017, when he made history as the first rider ever to win the World Superbike title in three successive seasons.

Rea was unable to collect his award in person at the Waterfront Hall as he continued his preparations for the new season during a test at Portimao in Portugal yesterday, but the Kawasaki rider thanked Belfast Telegraph readers for nominating him for the accolade.

"I'm incredibly humbled by all the support I have and hopefully I can achieve a fourth World Superbike title," said Rea, who will turn 31 on Friday.

Rea raced away from fellow nominees Rory Best, Michael McKillop, Steven Davis, Ryan Burnett and Jason Smyth to claim the top award, sponsored by Lyprinol.

Tyrone's former All-Ireland-winning captain Peter Canavan became the latest inductee into the Hall of Fame while football manager Michael O'Neill and the Northern Ireland team retained their Manager/ Coach of the Year and Team of the Year titles.

There were two gongs for Ulster and Ireland's rising rugby star Jacob Stockdale, who took home the Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year platinum title as well as the George Best Breakthrough award.