Eugene Laverty pockets coveted accolade for second time

Enkalon Irish Motorcyclist of the Year winner Eugene Laverty
Enkalon Irish Motorcyclist of the Year winner Eugene Laverty

Eugene Laverty was crowned Adelaide Irish Motorcyclist of the Year for a second time on Friday night at a star-studded awards bash in Belfast.

The World Superbike whizz clinched the magnificent Joey Dunlop trophy – presented in association with the Enkalon Club – after a scintillating season in 2013, during which Laverty won nine races on the works Aprilia RSV4 on his way to second position in the championship.

Only world champion Tom Sykes matched the 27-year-old Northern Ireland star’s strike rate last season, claiming nine victories himself on the Kawasaki to secure the title.

It was a sensational year for the former 250cc Grand Prix rider, who has switched camps to the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team for 2014.

Laverty also scooped the top accolade at the prestigious awards ceremony in 2010 after finishing as the runner-up in the World Supersport Championship behind Turkish ace Kenan Sofuoglu.

The Toome man was unable to make the trip to Belfast to receive the silverware as he was participating in a pre-season test at Almeria in Spain.

However, Laverty was awarded the trophy at his home in Monaco by the event organisers, who made the trip to hand over the iconic Joey Dunlop trophy.

A shocked but delighted Laverty said: “This trophy means so much to me. Joey Dunlop was the reason I took up racing – he’s a true hero of mine. To have this trophy flown to me at my home in Monaco was something really special and something I will never forget.”

Laverty – who was also selected as the Black Horse Short Circuit Rider of the Year – won the main gong from roads maestro Michael Dunlop, with Irish Superbike champ Nico Mawhinney third.

Dunlop had the consolation of collecting the IFS International and National Road Racer of the Year honours.

Welshman Ian Lougher, who has retired from road racing, received the Special Recognition award, while multiple Irish Short Circuit champion and road race winner, Alan Irwin, was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

ISB champion Mawhinney was picked as the Red Bull Young Rider of the Year with British Supersport champions Mar-Train Racing named Team of the Year.

Women’s motocross contender Natalie Kane won the Off Road Rider of the Year title, with Alastair Seeley scooping the Black Horse Best Rider on UK and Ireland Circuits award.

The Race of the Year award went to Stuart Easton, who won the British Supersport title following a tense final encounter at Brands Hatch against Ulsterman Seeley.

Ducati 848 champion Marty Nutt from Castlerock picked up the Outstanding Achievement Award.