Watch: You've made my dream come true, beams BBC Sports Personality of the Year runner up Jonathan Rea
Jonathan Rea reckons he cost the Northern Irish public a fortune on Sunday night, but wasn't it worth it?
"There is going to be some phone bill in our little country tonight," laughed the three-time World Superbikes champion, who earned 80,567 votes to be take runner up, beaten only by Mo Farah.
Given the huge public drive for Rea to be nominated for the first time, it's perhaps unsurprising that the fans backed up their demands by having their say on the night. But for the Ballyclare man, it was a nice surprise to get more votes than the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Anthony Joshua and Harry Kane.
"I'm quite taken aback to be honest," he told the BBC's Stephen Watson. "I had no ambition to be even placed in the awards. To be called out second was incredibly strange. This was a public vote so I need to thank each and every person that lifted the phone. You've made my dream come true."
It's been a phenomenal year for Rea, to say the least. His record-breaking third successive World title was swiftly followed by an MBE and now runner up in one of Britain's best loved awards.
"It's an incredible way to cap 2017," he said. "It's been a dream come true to win three World Championships on the bounce. To cap it all off at the end of the season is incredible.
"I'm lost for words. It really means a lot to do this for motor-cycling. The last motorcycling nomination was 10 years ago. To make an entrance on my Kawasaki motorbike and to be voted for by the public was incredible.
- Voting figures: Jonathan Rea was this close to beating Mo Farah for BBC Sports Personality of the Year
"I had a word with my wife and she asked if I was nervous. I said no because I was just happy to be here. All the talking leading up to the event and the support through social media, I could see it all but I never in my wildest dreams thought that people would get behind me that much."
Now the trouble is how to follow it all in 2018. And Rea's answer is realistic - he can't.
"It's an incredibly high level to even think about sustaining," he said. "What we did this season on the track, I can't even aim to do that next year. 16 race wins out of 26 races is unheard-of. I know I can't start to feel like this is normal because it's not. I need to savour this moment. Right now this is my time. Next year it could be someone else. 2017 is incredibly kind to me. It must be odd numbers. 2013 was the birth of my son Jake, 2015 was my first World Championship and the birth of Tyler, now 2017 is beyond my wildest dreams."
SPOTY: Why should you vote for Jonathan Rea and how can you do it? ☎️ 🏆 Like and share to spread the word! ↩️ Read...Posted by Belfast Telegraph Sport on Sunday, December 17, 2017
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