Motorcycling World Champion Jonathan Rea MBE Awarded 2017 Torrens Trophy
Northern Ireland’s motorcycling world champion Jonathan Rea MBE was awarded the Royal Automobile Club’s coveted Torrens Trophy on Thursday 29 March 2018 at the Pall Mall clubhouse for being the first rider to win three consecutive World Superbike Championships.
For Rea, it is the latest in a string of high-profile accolades, from finishing runner-up in the Sports Personality of the Year contest, just 2,957 votes behind winner Sir Mo Farah, to being awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Barrie Baxter, Chairman of the Torrens Trophy Nominations Committee, said: “It gives me great pleasure to present the 2017 Torrens Trophy to Jonathan in recognition of his outstanding achievement. Aside from his remarkable talent, he’s a huge credit to our sport and is raising the profile of motorcycle racing in this country.”
Jonathan Rea made history during 2017 when he became the first rider to win three consecutive World Superbike crowns. Son of Isle of Man TT winner Johnny Rea, the 30-year-old from Ballymena in Northern Ireland moved to Kawasaki in 2015 and has been just about unbeatable ever since. Rea has been on the podium 112 times during his World Superbike career. Last season he won 16 of 26 World Superbike races, making history for the most points secured in a single season, with an amazing 556. This surpassed Colin Edwards’ points record from 2002 and Rea is now only one title short of Carl Fogarty’s record of World Superbike Championships.
Legendary commentator Murray Walker OBE said: “As a pathetically failed racing motorcyclist I’d give my eye teeth to have achieved what Jonathan has achieved. To be World Champion in something as demanding as the World Superbike Championship is very, very special but to do it three times in succession is quite incredible. Hats off to Kawasaki too. A superlative partnership.”
Former two-times World Superbike Champion and 2008 Torrens recipient James Toseland said: “His level of consistency, dedication and focus is unheard of. I’m sure that he can equal Carl Fogarty’s record of four titles this year. He’s definitely up there as one of the greatest superbike riders, without question.”
Jonathan Rea first began racing on tarmac in 2003 following an early career in motocross. He quickly moved up the ranks from the British Superbike Championship to the world stage in 2008, finishing as the World Supersport runner-up. He continued his journey through to the World Superbikes and secured 15 victories with Honda between 2009 to 2014 in the prestigious FIM Superbike World Championship. In 2015 he made the transition to Kawasaki Racing Team and has never looked back. This year the 31-year-old has his sights set on breaking even more records with his ZX-10R and securing his fourth title. He will also contest this year’s Suzuka 8 Hours for the factory Kawasaki team alongside Leon Haslam and Kazuma Watanabe.