Belfast Telegraph

World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea's pride in hero Joey Dunlop's trophy

By Jim Gracey

World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea described himself as 'proud and humble' to be named Irish Motorcyclist of the Year for a third time at last night's star-studded motorcycle racing Oscars, the Cornmarket Motorbike Awards in the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Belfast.

The 28 year old Kawasaki rider, from Ballyclare collected the iconic yellow helmet Joey Dunlop Trophy, named in honour of his idol and inspiration in a poll decided by public vote.

He told a full house audience of local, national and international bike stars and their fans: "I am proud and humbled to return to Northern Ireland as World Champion - it was always my ambition. Joey was always a hero of mine and to be voted Irish Motorcyclist of the Year for a third time by the general public is mega."

A motorcycle racing awards bash is not complete without a Dunlop on the podium and last night Ballymoney's William Dunlop lifted the Belleek National Road Racer of the Year.

British 1000cc Superstock champion, 21 year old Josh Elliott, from Ballinamallard won the Belfast Telegraph award for the Best rider on UK and Irish Circuits in 2015.

Standing ovations greeted two posthumous awards - Special Recognition for Flying Doctor John Hinds who lost his life following an accident at Skerries last year and Hall of Fame entrant, the late Owen McNally, fatally injured at the 1999 Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod.

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