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'He was my hero': Jonathan Rea ties Joey Dunlop's record with eighth Irish Motorcyclist of the Year award

Superbike ace wins top Irish award for an eighth time to equal his hero


Joy of six: Jonathan Rea has won the Joey Dunlop trophy for the sixth year in a row

Joy of six: Jonathan Rea has won the Joey Dunlop trophy for the sixth year in a row

Joy of six: Jonathan Rea has won the Joey Dunlop trophy for the sixth year in a row

World Superbike star Jonathan Rea MBE continues to break records, this time off the track, by being crowned Adelaide Irish Motorcyclist of the Year for a record breaking sixth time in a row.

There was little doubt the Kawasaki rider would scoop the main award after clinching his sixth successive World Superbike title.

Rea has won Irish motorcycling's top honour eight times to equal the achievement of road racing legend Joey Dunlop, who was an eight-time winner between 1979 and 2000.

The 33-year-old Templepatrick rider received the unique Joey Dunlop Trophy during a virtual online awards ceremony after the annual gala evening in Belfast was unable to be staged because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"This is an incredible feeling," said Rea, "I am gutted I can't receive this trophy on the night because it is such an amazing occasion every January when all the motorcycling industry comes together under one roof.

"I receive so much support from the race fans there and I will miss seeing them all. This is an unreal trophy which will once again take pride of place as the centerpiece in my home.

"To equal the record set by Joey is simply incredible. He was my hero growing up and to think I have won this award the same number of times as him is hard to believe.

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"I assure everyone I am planning a big assault on this new season. Kawasaki have a new bike and I'm excited about that as the potential is more than the previous model.

"However, I am under no illusions how tough it will be with new challenges, whether it be a bike, a rider or both.

"We start later than usual this year at Assen instead of Australia because of the coronavirus. Assen is a track I love and I hope we can start the 2021 championship on a real high come April."

Six other awards were presented during the virtual ceremony, which is available to watch on demand on the Bikers Awards Facebook page and via YouTube. There are interviews with the winners in the special programme, hosted by Stephen Watson and Keith Huewen.

Adelaide Motorbike Insurance, administered by Cornmarket, sponsored the Irish motorcycle awards and Managing Director of Cornmarket Insurance Services, Stephen Sutherland, said: "We are proud to partner the awards again this year. Through Adelaide Insurance we have a long tradition of supporting the motorcycling community and have built up a fantastic relationship with our customers over the years."

With Covid still in mind, the Voluntary Bikers Group were the recipients of the Services to Sport award thanks to their amazing efforts to support the local community last year. Over 200 bikers delivered food parcels, medication and Personal Protection Equipment to people in need during the pandemic.

Short Circuit Rider of the Year went to Glenn Irwin after a brilliant debut year on the all-new Honda Fireblade in British Superbike, where he finished fourth in the championship after leading it right up until the final round, while Rhys Irwin (18) from Donegal won the Young Rider of the Year for finishing second overall in the highly competitive British Superstock 600cc championship.

Jordan Scott was named Off Road Rider of the Year for his British Extreme Enduro performances, while the Cookstown Club won the Road Race of the Year award for the safe running of the only road race in Ireland in 2020.

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