Jonathan Rea in town for motorcycling’s glamour night

Jonathan Rea

World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea will take centre stage at the prestigious Cornmarket Motorbike Awards in Belfast on Friday night.

Rea is making a flying visit to Northern Ireland to attend motorcycling’s big glamour night at the Crowne Plaza hotel, where he is set to be crowned Irish Motorcyclist of the Year for a fifth time.

World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea is set to be crowned Cornmarket Irish Motorcyclist of the Year for a fifth time in Belfast.

The Kawasaki rider is the runaway favourite for the top accolade after making history with a third successive World Superbike title last season.

Rea has previously won the famous Joey Dunlop trophy four times after being crowned Irish Motorcyclist of the Year for 2007, 2008, 2015 and 2016.

He is poised to equal Dunlop, who is the only rider ever to have been named Irish Motorcyclist of the Year three times in succession (1983-1985).

The 30-year-old - who will be accompanied by his crew chief, Pere Riba - is fresh from a two-day winter test at Jerez in Spain, where he finished second fastest overall behind team-mate Tom Sykes.

Other nominees on the final shortlist for the coveted gong include Michael Dunlop, Graeme Irwin, Alastair Seeley, Keith Farmer, Andrew Irwin, Glenn Irwin and Eugene Laverty.

All will be in attendance with the exception of road racing star Dunlop, who is currently in Malaysia after testing the Suzuki MotoGP bike.

A sparkling guest list also includes John McGuinness and Michael Laverty.

The overall winner is determined by a public vote, which is overseen by a panel of judges chaired by ex-British champion Adrian Coates.

The black-tie bash will be co-hosted by BT Sport MotoGP commentator Keith Huewen and BBC Sport NI’s Stephen Watson.

Rea and fellow World Superbike rider Eugene Laverty will be back in pre-season action on Sunday as testing resumes at Portimao in Portugal ahead of the opening World Superbike round, which takes place in February in Australia.

Other awards due to be presented include the IFS International Road Racer of the Year and the A. McLean Race of the Year.

The full list of awards is:

Cornmarket Irish Motorcyclist of the Year

IFS International Road Racer of the Year

Belfast Telegraph National Road Racer of the Year

Belleek Off Road Rider of the Year

Blackhorse Short Circuit Rider of the Year (UK Circuits)

Blackhorse Short Circuit Rider of the Year (Ireland Circuits)

Phillip McCallen Motorcycles Young Rider of the Year

John Wilson Advertising Team of the Year

A. McClean Bookmakers Race of the Year

RPS Group Hall of Fame

Greenlight Special Recognition

Kawasaki Outstanding Achievement

Air Ambulance NI Services to Motorcycling

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