Watch: Homecoming was 'surreal' because I'm just a normal bloke: Jonathan Rea
The Ballyclare rider was taken aback by his reception at George Best Belfast City Airport
Jonathan Rea expected a very modest homecoming party at the George Best Belfast City airport. No wonder he was more than a little shocked at the awaiting crowds.
Three-in-a-row World Superbikes Champion Rea returned to the George Best Belfast City airport to a raucous reception on Sunday evening after securing his crown on Saturday afternoon at Magny-Cours in France.
In the second segment of our video interview, Rea revealed it surpassed his low-key expectations somewhat easily.
"(The reception) was surreal to be honest," he told the Belfast Telegraph. "I don't feel like the guy in lights. I just feel like a normal bloke. That moment walking through - there were some people that I knew, some people that I've never met before and they were there to show support. There were hundreds and it felt amazing. It was my little moment but I was in shock that people turned up. I flew back with some friends and they told me that there could be some people waiting at the airport and I said: 'Oh you think so? How many, three or four? You think my sister will come? In the end it turned out really nice."
- Watch: Jonathan Rea explains why he might be worth a pound to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year
As a few extra-keen fans began to gather to await Rea's arrival, they even allowed Southampton and NI skipper Steven Davis to slip through all but unnoticed as he arrived for Thursday's clash against Germany. They only had eyes for Rea - so does that mean he's more famous than Davis now?
"I don't know about that," laughed the Ballyclare rider. "I'll be going to watch him anyway on Thursday night."
- We will have the rest of our video interview with the World Superbike champion online throughout the week.
Belfast Telegraph Digital