Laverty and Rea battle it out for top award
World Superbike stars Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty, the main protagonists at tonight’s Adelaide Irish Motorcyclist of the Year award, have flown in from Melbourne and Orlando respectively to attend the gala black tie event in Belfast, promoted by Irish Racer magazine.
The 500-seater sell-out is testament to the support motorcycling receives in the 32 counties, and with local legend Sammy Miller the guest of honour, there are sure to be many trips down memory lane for many of the die hard fans, kitted out in unfamiliar black tie.
Laverty and Rea are joined in the main award short list by popular road racers Ryan Farquhar and Michael Dunlop, along with Laverty’s brother Michael and TAS Suzuki NW200 Superbike winner rider Alastair Seeley.
Farquhar was the inaugural winner of the Adelaide Irish Motorcyclist of the Year award in 2004, retaining it in 2005 and although the record breaking Dungannon man has struggled to topple the new breed of short circuit stars ever since, he has been a regular in the top three.
Michael Laverty had a great season in 2010 taking two wins from his nine podiums in the British Superbike Championship.
Having also won the main Irish Motorcyclist of the Year award on two occasions, the affable Toomebridge lad, now residing in Wales, could push his brother Eugene and Jonathan Rea very close tonight.
He is also in with a shout in the Black Horse short circuit category.
Alastair Seeley also had a superb 2010 in Relentless Suzuki livery and the diminutive Carrick man, better known as ‘The Wee Wizard’ has remarkably made four short-lists tonight: the Adelaide Irish Motorcyclist of the Year; the Black Horse Short Circuit; the International Road Racer and the Jet2.com Fans’ Race of the Year categories.
He will face some stiff opposition in the Fans’ award public vote section from Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty, who had 12 wins between them at world level.
Also in contention are Michael Dunlop and Ryan Farquhar after their TT exploits along with Bruce Anstey, after his record breaking victory at the Ulster Grand Prix.
Five time TT winner Ian Hutchinson is a firm favourite in the IFS International Road Racer of the Year category, with Ryan Farquhar, Michael Dunlop, Keith Amor, Bruce Anstey and the aforementioned Alastair Seeley fighting it out for the minor placings.
The Red Bull Young Rider of the Year award always kick-starts proceedings in the Ramada, and a plethora of young talent, that includes John Simpson, Korie McGreevy, Josh Elliott, Glenn Irwin, Jason Lynn and Nikki Coates, will be looking to follow in Jonathan Rea’s footsteps — the Ballyclare World Superbike star having won it twice in 2004 and 2005.
Other important awards on the night will include the Bridgestone Hall of Fame Installation, which always gets a rousing reception; the Arai Helmet Lifetime Achievement Award; the Adelaide International Award; the Mondello Masters presentation, the Duke Road Race Rankings presentation and the Institute of Advanced Motorists Safety Award.