Second Royal Honour for Rea: The six-time WSBK champion picks up OBE

Almost five years on from being awarded an MBE in 2017, Jonathan Rea has been awarded an OBE which was awarded by the Princess Royal.

Jonathan Rea - Kawasaki Racing Team

Jonathan Rea has picked up a second Royal Honour, which was awarded on 12 October 2022. 

Rea, a six-time Superbike World Champion and the most successful rider in the history of WorldSBK, had previously been awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) honour. 

Now, the Northern Irish racer has been awarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) honour.

The difference between the two is that:

  • An MBE awards, according to the Cabinet Office, “Achievement or service in and to the community which is outstanding in its field and has delivered sustained and real impact which stands out as an example to others;”
  • Whereas the Cabinet Office describes an OBE as an award for “Distinguished regional or county-wide role in any field, through achievement or service to the community including notable practitioners known nationally.”

Rea’s OBE comes almost five years after he received his MBE in November 2017 from Prince William. On this occasion, it was the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, who awarded Rea his OBE. Since then, he has doubled his world title tally from three to an unmatched six.

For Rea, the award fell between a tough weekend in Portimao where he struggled for entry grip with his Kawasaki ZX-10RR in WorldSBK. He slipped to over 80 points behind in the World Championship compared to points leader, Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista.

About the award, Rea said in a Kawasaki press release: “I am truly humbled and honoured to be recognised yet again at this level for my achievements and contribution to motorcycling. 

“It seems like only yesterday I was collecting my MBE from Prince William at the Palace, but to receive an OBE from The Princess Royal and be amongst so many amazing names and legends who have also received one, is beyond anything I could have imagined.”

He continued: “It really is such a privilege for me to have been made an OBE in the late Queen Elizabeth’s New Year’s Honours and to collect this honour not just for myself, but on behalf of my family, the wider Kawasaki Racing Team, and my fans in Northern Ireland and across the world. 

“What an amazing opportunity to shine a light on world class motorcycle racing and especially the talent we have that comes from my part of the world. It helps for me to stay focussed and fighting at the front in the World Superbike Championship.”

The next round of WorldSBK takes place in Argentina on 21-23 October.

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