HE MAY have narrowly missed out on the Sports Personality Of The Year title, but triple World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea has been recognised on his home soil and named Irish Motorcyclist of the Year.
Rea, from Ballynure, Northern Ireland collected the Cornmarket-sponsored award in front of a sold-out crowd at the Belfast’s Crowne Plaza Hotel on Friday night.
Despite the wealth of Irish motorcycling talent, the odds were on Rea to win the public vote, after he made history last year in becoming the only rider to win the Championship three years in a row.
The 30-year-old was awarded a bespoke trophy, alongside the Enkalon Club’s famous Joey Dunlop trophy, featuring a mini replica of the TT legend’s iconic yellow helmet, to keep in recognition of his three world titles.
He joins Dunlop as the only riders ever to have claimed the honour in three consecutive seasons.
2017 British Supersport winner Keith Farmer finished second while British motocross champion Graeme Irwin was third.
Irwin also took the Greenlight Special Recognition Award for his efforts in 2017, when he took his maiden BSB victory and won the Superbike race at the North West 200 on his first attempt.
It was this Superbike race, and Irwin’s rivalry with Alastair Seeley, which won the A. McLean Bookmakers Race of the Year at Friday’s awards.
Peter Hickman was awarded the title of IFS International Road Racer of the Year after his successful 2017 road racing season