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Jonathan Rea takes second Irish Motorcyclist of the Year award

By Dermot James -

 27 October 2008 11:37

Jonathan Rea, as expected, is the NGK Irish Motorcyclist of the Year for the second time.

Over the past 30-years previous winners included the legendary Joey Dunlop, Phillip McCallen and Jeremy McWilliams.

Apart from Dunlop, 21-year-old Rea is the only rider to score back-to-back wins of this much sought after accolade.

“We had a huge response to our poll,” said David Purdy, secretary of the organising Enkalon club. “We are grateful to the public for supporting us and the riders.”

In order to get to the top of the tree Rea deflected the attentions of Michael Dunlop and fellow road racer Ryan Farquhar.

“Just like last year I have got to thank the public for their votes,” said a shocked Rea. “I’m simply flabbergasted.”

“To retain this trophy which depicts Joey Dunlop’s famous yellow helmet means a lot to me. He was my boyhood hero.”

“This award will again have pride of place among my other trophies back home.”

Incidentally, Dunlop won this particular award a record eight-times between 1979 and 2000.

This time last year when riding for the HM Plant Honda team Rea finished second in the British Superbike Championship.

That result helped him to acquire a place in the Dutch-based HANNspree Ten Kate Honda Team and he has again produced the goods so far as the World Supersport Championship is concerned.

Thanks to three wins he’s lying second with the final round on Sunday at Portimao in Portugal.

“Yes, it has been a good year,” reflected Rea. “A couple of incidents not of my making may well have cost me the championship but that’s racing.”

“I hope to consolidate my second place in Portugal,” added Rea. “I do have the option of riding a Superbike but I feel that I’ll finish off with another Supersport ride.”

For Michael Dunlop it has been a difficult year following the untimely death of his dad Robert in a practice session at the North-West 200.

Against all the odds Dunlop turned-up on race day and proceeded to win an emotional 250 cc race, the first event on the N-W card.

At the time with tears streaming from his eyes Michael remarked, “That’s for you dad, I hope you’re proud of me!”

Dunlop went on to become a double Irish champion in the 125 and 250 cc classes while Farquhar who has still to get his name on the Enkalon silverware became Irish champion in the senior and 600 classes.