WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea ‘really humbled’ to be awarded OBE

Record-breaking six-time WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea receives an Order of the British Empire (OBE) to join his MBE from 2017

Jonathan Rea - Kawasaki Racing Team

Record-breaking six-time WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea has been awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for Services to Motorcycle Racing in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Despite missing out on the 2021 WorldSBK title to Toprak Razgatlioglu - the first rider other than Rea to clinch the crown since Sylvain Guintoli in 2014 - the Ulsterman remains far and away the most successful WorldSBK rider of all time with 112 wins and 215 podiums.

They are statistics that have contributed to him being upgraded to an OBE having already been awarded an MBE for services to motorcycle racing in 2017.

Having previously spoken about his pride for being only the second Superbike rider to receive an MBE after Carl Fogarty, Rea is now the only motorcycle racer to be awarded an MBE and an OBE after the late Joey Dunlop.

Speaking in a column posted to the Newsletter website, Rea says he is honoured and ‘humbled’ by the accolade.

“My year has started incredibly well after it was officially announced that I would receive an OBE this year. I had a sneaky suspicion I had been nominated and then some paperwork arrived in the post from the Cabinet Office, asking if I was happy to accept it or decline it, and of course I ticked the acceptance box.

“The Press Office called me on New Year’s Eve for some quotes for the official communication, so it was a nice way to start the year and it certainly took the sting out of my hangover on January 1!

“I’m really humbled. I’m not big into stats or awards, but the only other person I can think of in our sport who has an MBE and OBE was Joey Dunlop, so that’s incredible and I’m in great company. 

“It makes it all the more special for me, especially given my family connections to Joey through my grandad, who sponsored Joey, and my dad, who of course raced against Joey. It’s an honour for me to be able to fly the flag for our wee country on the world stage like Joey did.”