For the first time in ten years a motorcycle racer has been recognised by the BBC with a nomination for the prestigious Sports Personality of the Year award.
Three-time World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea was last night revealed as part of the 2017 shortlist alongside sporting stars such as Lewis Hamilton, Adam Peaty, Anthony Joshua and Johanna Konta, ending years of disappointment for bike racing fans.
The last rider to reach the shortlist was James Toseland after winning his second world title in 2007, but since then it’s been a long, dry decade in regards to the mainstream press recognising British motorcycling achievements.
It’s not as if there hasn’t been anyone worthy; Tom Sykes won the World Superbike title in 2013, in 2015 Danny Kent became the first Brit to win a Grand Prix world title since Barry Sheene in 1977 and John McGuinness won a mind-blowing 23rd Isle of Man TT race, last year Cal Crutchlow won a premier class Grand Prix for Britain breaking a 35-year drought and Rea’s history-making second title was also ignored as he became the first rider since Carl Fogarty to successfully defend a World Superbike crown.
World Superbikes gets a lot of stick on social media, but whatever your opinion on it we really need to get ourselves behind Jonathan Rea – one of our own – and show that motorcycle racing is something to be celebrated, not just by us, but the wider community.
Rea’s achievements speak for themselves. While UK interest in World Superbike might be a little low right now, nothing can be taken away from what he’s done. He might make it look easy as he annihilates the field, but he’s still gotta ride the thing and let’s not forget there’s a bloke on exactly the same bike who finished 183 points behind him.
This is a chance to put our sport in the public eye and we shouldn’t waste it. We should do all we can to get Rea as many votes as possible. Get the word out, everybody who has watched motorcycle racing in the UK, whether it be Grand Prix, World Superbikes, British Superbikes or road racing should be voting. Let’s show people what a sport motorcycle racing is about.