Support revs up for Rea ahead of awards

Jonathan Rea.
Jonathan Rea.

The Larne community is being urged to get behind motorcycle star Jonathan Rea as he bids to win this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The World Superbike Champion is one of 12 nominees in the running for the prestigious accolade, which will see him compete against stars from a number of sports including Sir Mo Farah, Lewis Hamilton and Anthony Joshua.

The local man has earned his place on the 2017 panel thanks to a record breaking season which saw him become the first rider to win three consecutive world titles, setting a new record points total in the process.

Ahead of Sunday’s final in the Echo Arena, Liverpool, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Cllr Paul Reid has called on residents to back the former Larne Grammar School pupil.

Cllr Reid said: “This shortlisting is recognition for Jonathan’s achievements and would be the perfect end to a fantastic year.

“We are so proud of our strong links to Jonathan, who is a true sporting hero and inspiration to many throughout Mid and East Antrim.

“I was delighted to see Jonathan recognised with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, to mark his record-breaking exploits.”

The DUP representative added: “We wish him well ahead of the Sports Personality of the Year awards and I have no doubt our residents will get right behind Jonathan through the public vote.

“I know everybody at Larne Grammar School, where Jonathan was a pupil, are delighted with his achievements. Jonathan is a complete gentleman on and off the track and it is fitting that he is reaping the ultimate accolades and carving out a legacy.”

Fellow motorcycling star Alastair Seeley has called on the public to support Rea.

The North West 200’s most successful rider said: “Jonathan is a great ambassador for the sport and to have a three time World Superbike champion from these shores is awesome. He will go on to become a five or six-time world champion, so get those votes in!”

The public will be able to vote for their favourite nominee by phone and online during the live show on December 17 Voting details, including phone numbers for each nominee, are announced during the programme and online. There is no voting via email, Red Button or by text.