Jonathan Rea wins BBC NI Sports Personality of the Year award for 2017

BBC Sport NI's Stephen Watson presents Jonathan Rea with his award
BBC Sport NI's Stephen Watson presents Jonathan Rea with his awar

Three-time World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea is the 2017 BBC Northern Ireland Sports Personality of the Year.

It is the latest in a string of accolades for the 30-year-old who in September became the first rider to win the WSB title three years in a row.

On Sunday, Rea was second in the main Sports Personality of the Year award, finishing just 2,957 votes behind the winner Sir Mo Farah.

He was also made an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

The Ballyclare racer broke American Colin Edwards' 15-year record for the number of points scored in a season as he won his third title in a row.

The Kawasaki rider won 16 races from 26 starts to better the tally of victories he achieved in securing his first championship success in 2015.

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Jonathan Rea wins BBC NI's Sports Personality Award for 2017

Rea has been on the podium 112 times during his WSB career and a double in the last round of the series in Qatar in early November took his career total of wins to 54, five behind the record held by Carl Fogarty.

"It's incredible. Like I say, time after time, our country punches above its weight in all sports, not just motorsports. So to be recognised as part of all sports put together - it's an award that really means a lot," commented Rea.

"After Sports Personality of The Year in Liverpool, and now to receive this, I can firmly switch off 2017 and look towards '18. But this really means a lot. Thank you very much."

Jane Tohill, Executive Producer Sport BBC Northern Ireland said: "It's always difficult to select the winner. We are very lucky to have so many talented sporting stars in Northern Ireland who excel in teams and individually. But Jonathan's success this year means he's a worthy winner.

"Jonathan's result at the Sports Personality awards on Sunday night also reflects the respect he has across the UK for what he has achieved, and, how he has achieved his success. So we're really pleased to award him the 2017 BBC Northern Ireland Sports Personality of the Year."

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