Belfast Telegraph

Bikers deliver long petition calling for Jonathan Rea to be nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year

A petition with over 10,000 signatures has been delivered to the BBC calling for Jonathan Rea to be named on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2017 shortlist.

The Ballyclare man won his third successive World Superbike title in September but was left off the 2015 and 2016 lists despite his previous championship victories.

After this year's success sealed his place in history as the first man to win three in a row, social media was awash with calls for Rea to become one of this year's nominees. And days after his race win at Magny-Cours secured the title, we asked the man himself what he thought of his then 200-1 odds to become the 2017 Sports Personality of the Year:

Overnight, his odds plunged and soon Rea's supporters and fellow motorcyclists got on board to try and force the BBC's hand.

That's when an e-petition was launched, which gathered momentum and was recently hand-delivered to the BBC building at Manchester’s MediaCityUK by a group of bikers.

“I don’t know if I am worthy or not of an award as big as BBC Sports Personality, but for others to be talking about me in this way is hugely flattering," said Rea. “I grew up watching the awards and to potentially follow in the footsteps of some of my all-time heroes like Tony McCoy and Barry McGuigan, who have both won the award, would be a dream come true.”

Jonathan Rea petition image 2.jpg

The Sports Personality of the Year awards are due to be held in Liverpool's Echo Arena on Sunday December 17. The list of nominations is expected to be announced next week.

The e-petition was launched by motorcycle insurance broker, Carole Nash, for whom Jonathan Rea is a Brand Ambassador.

“Jonathan is one of the finest sportspeople around and an overall down-to-earth bloke, so it’s only right that his achievements get the recognition they deserve," said Rebecca Donohue, Head of Marketing at Carole Nash. "We’re excited to see what happens when the shortlist announcement is made and we hope that our hard work comes to fruition, and the Great British public get the result they’re after.”

Meanwhile, Rea will be awarded an MBE as part of the Queen's Birthday Honours tomorrow (Tuesday).

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