Rea wins important award in his homeland
February 2, 2016
Jonathan Rea hoisted the iconic Joey Dunlop Trophy aloft on Friday 29 January receiving a standing ovation after being named Irish Motorcyclist of the Year.
In association with Enkalon MCC – and part sponsored by Kawasaki Motors UK, the awards night took place in the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Belfast.
The leading Northern Irish newspaper, the Belfast Telegraph, had this to say.
Rea was winning the award for the third time after previous success in 2007 and 2008, but this time was special, coming on the back of winning the 2015 World Superbike Championship, only the fourth Irish rider to be crowned a World champion following Ralph Bryans, Joey Dunlop and Brian Reid.
Thrilled Kawasaki rider Rea said: "I am humbled to return to Northern Ireland as World champion and receive such a reception. It was always a goal of mine and it is even more of an honour to win this amazing trophy for the third time.
"Joey was always a hero of mine and to be voted Irish Motorcyclist of the Year by the general public is mega. I could not have achieved the championship without the support of many people throughout my career, most of all my family."
It was 12 years ago that a 16-year-old Rea won the Red Bull Young Rider of the Year award and the standing ovation that he received was testament to his skill and popularity at having reached the pinnacle of his sport.
Rea was a double winner on the night, also picking up the Black Horse Short Circuit Rider of the Year award.