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Jonathan Rea snubbed as 2019 BBC SPOTY shortlist announced

Jonathan Rea will NOT compete for the 2019 BBC SPOTY award despite securing a record-breaking fifth WorldSBK title in 2019

Two years after he broke new ground for motorcycle racing by having his dominant exploits in the WorldSBK Championship recognised in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, Jonathan Rea will not get a chance to go one better than 2017 after being left out of this year’s shortlist.

The Ulsterman made headlines by defying the odds to finish second in the viewer-voted poll in 2017, which serves to highlight great British sporting achievement over the previous twelve months.

Securing more than 80,000 votes in less than two hours, Rea was only 3,000 votes short of usurping eventual winner Mo Farah to secure what would have been a shock victory.

At the time Northern Ireland’s Rea had just been crowned WorldSBK Champion for a third successive year and broken the record for the most points scored in a single season.

However, despite winning the title again in 2018 and then securing a record-breaking fifth consecutive WorldSBK title this season, Rea will not be fighting it out for one the British sport’s highest honours after being omitted from the final shortlist.

Jonathan Rea denied another giant-killing evening

Seemingly counting against Rea is the decision to whittle the number of finalists down from the 12 that went head-to-head on the night he finished second, to only six candidates from 2018. He wasn’t shortlisted in that year either.

To his detriment, it has been a good year for British sportspeople and this is reflected in the final six which feature Dina Asher-Smith (World Athletics Championship gold medallist), Ben Stokes (contribution to Cricket World Cup glory), Raheem Stirling (contribution to Manchester City’s Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup treble titles), Alun Wyn Jones (Captained Wales to Grand Slam victory in the Six Nations), Lewis Hamilton (won a sixth Formula 1 World Championship) and Katrina Johnson-Thompson (World Athletics Championship gold medallist).

Even so, motorcycling has a traditionally poor representation at the awards with only three trophies handed out since 1954 – John Surtees, winner in 1959, Rea second in 2017 and Barry Sheene third in 1977.

Moreover, since the shortlists are determined by a panel before the winner is decided by the public, one could argue Rea’s shock 2017 performance should be better reflected in the decision-making processes given he has far exceeded those aforementioned achievements with no break in the consistency.

Since his WorldSBK debut in 2009, Rea has won on 88 occasions over 280 races, though he his most eye-catching statistic is his 73 wins in the 140 races he has started as a Kawasaki rider.

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