Local motorcycling fans have hit out after Jonathan Rea was not included on the shortlist for the 2016 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
The Ballyclare man, who is currently the World Superbike champion for a second year in a row, does not feature on this year’s shortlist, which has been extended due to it being an Olympic year.
Speaking to the Times, fellow Ballyclare motorcyclist, Jamie Hamilton said: “It is a disgrace that Jonathan has been left out of the awards. I am sure not everyone on the list has had such a successful period as Jonathan.
“He wasn’t included in the awards last year either, even though he had been crowned world champion. A short clip of him was shown, which I feel was an after-thought.
“BBC Northern Ireland cover motorcycling well, but I think it is overlooked across the rest of the UK.”
Taking to social media, Rea supporter, Michelle Mcguigan said: “Without a doubt Jonathan should have been on the shortlist! It is a great achievement to win back-to-back World Superbike Championships.
“Very few other British riders have done this, but then, motorcyclists don’t ever get rated for a place in Sports Personality and Northern Ireland doesn’t feature on the BBC’s radar. He was destined not to be selected.”
Agreeing with these sentiments, Kathy Wolff added that the Kawasaki rider’s shock omission was a disgrace.
Cllr David Arthurs has been a fan of Rea for a number of years. The UUP representative said: “It is disappointing that Jonathan has not been included on the shortlist for this year’s award. He has done something which has not been done by many riders before him and I feel that he should have been recognised for this.”
Rea joins other local sporting stars who have been left out of the running for the showcase awards event, which will be held on December 18 in Birmingham.
History-making Belfast boxer, Carl Frampton and Paralympian, Bethany Firth, have also been left off the shortlist.
Liam Beckett, who was a race mechanic for motorcycling legend, Robert Dunlop, is shocked that Rea and Frampton did not make the shortlist. Commenting on Twitter, he said: “I find it staggering that neither @RealCFrampton or Johnny Rea are not shortlisted for SPOTY, both current double World Champions,how come??”
Commenting on all three omissions, Cllr Paul Hamill added: “While others will rightly argue that Carl Frampton and Jonathan Rea should be included in this years BBC Sports Personality of the Year, I think that Bethany Firth should be included as well. The most decorated special Olympian of 2016.”