Belfast Telegraph

Jonathan Rea favourite to lift third Irish Motorcyclist of Year title in row

 

By Roy Harris

It's that time of year again - voting begins today for the Cornmarket Irish Motorcyclist of the Year award, with the winner to be presented with the Joey Dunlop Trophy during the Cornmarket Motorbike Awards in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast on Friday, January 26, 2018.

A total of 25 competitors from various disciplines of the sport have been nominated for the prestigious award, in association with the Enkalon Club. The final shortlist and ultimate winner will be decided by an online public vote and a panel of experts.

Jonathan Rea, the winner of the Joey Dunlop Trophy for the last two years, is the overwhelming favourite after a record-breaking 2017.

Rea became the first rider ever to win the World Superbike Championship for three consecutive years and will fly in from pre-season training in Spain for the black tie event.

The 30-year-old has also been nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, which takes place in Liverpool this Sunday.

Other nominees for the Irish Motorcyclist of the Year include three sets of racing brothers.

Andrew, Glenn and Graeme Irwin had a sensational 2017. Andrew was runner-up in the British Supersport Championship; Glenn won his first British Superbike race at Silverstone, took his first North West 200 Superbike win, retained the Sunflower Trophy and took victory in the Macau Grand Prix; and Graeme was crowned British MX1 motocross champion.

The other brothers nominated are World Superbike contender Eugene Laverty and BSB competitor Michael Laverty, plus Michael Dunlop - a double TT winner in 2017 - and his brother William.

Also in the running are British Supersport champion Keith Farmer, North West 200 wins record holder Alastair Seeley, BSB riders David Allingham, Josh Elliott and Carl Phillips, and multiple Irish Road Race champion Derek McGee.

Others chasing your vote are British MX2 Championship runner-up Martin Barr, Lee Johnston, Jack Kennedy, Irish and Masters short circuit champion Jason Lynn, Adam McLean, Eugene McManus, Andy Reid, Derek Sheils, Irish Superbike champion Charles Stuart and Scott Swann.

Details of how to vote can be found via Twitter at @BikeAwards and on the Cornmarket Motorbike Awards Facebook page, with voting closing on December 31.

A dozen other awards will be presented on the night including IFS Road Racer of the Year, Blackhorse Short Circuit Rider of the Year on UK and Irish circuits, JWA Team of the Year, RPS Hall of Fame, BetMcLean Race of the Year and Greenlight Television Special Recognition prize.

Chairman of the judging panel, former British 250cc champion Adrian Coates, said: "Last year we had a massive vote topped by Jonathan Rea and we are hoping for an even bigger vote this year. Rea may be favourite, but making the final shortlist is as an important accolade for every rider. This shortlist also helps decide some of the other awards on the night."

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