In pictures: A Ballyclare welcome for Jonathan Rea

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Cllr Paul Hamill presents Jonathan Rea with a trophy during the special event at the Sixmile Leisure Centre.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Cllr Paul Hamill presents Jonathan Rea with a trophy during the special event at the Sixmile Leisure Centre.

The atmosphere was revving up in Ballyclare last night as triple World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea returned home for a celebration event.

Organised by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and hosted by Stephen Watson, the celebration event took place at Sixmile Leisure Centre and was attended by over 1,000 well-wishers.

Jonathan Rea pictured with Junior All-Ireland Mini Moto Champion, Ruben Boyd.

Jonathan Rea pictured with Junior All-Ireland Mini Moto Champion, Ruben Boyd.

As well as the many Jonathan Rea fans, guests also included friends, family and local motorcycle club members.

Jonathan was overwhelmed with the reception he received, saying: “I am blown away by the amount of people who have turned out this evening.

“I love coming home to Ballyclare and seeing all the familiar faces again. I would like to thank all those who not only came here tonight but who take the time to travel and support me at my races all over the world.”

Speaking at the event, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cllr Paul Hamill commented: “Jonathan has achieved something amazing and well and truly put Northern Ireland on the world stage once again.

Jonathan pictured with his wife Tatia at the special event in Ballyclare on October 2.

Jonathan pictured with his wife Tatia at the special event in Ballyclare on October 2.

“We are extremely proud to have him as one of Northern Ireland’s sporting ambassadors and there is no doubt that Jonathan is a great role model to many young people within our borough.”

Cllr Hamill added; “It is my great pleasure to welcome Jonathan back to the borough, only a short time since his second championship and we are extremely privileged he has taken the time out of his hectic schedule to allow us to celebrate his outstanding achievements.

“On behalf of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council I would like to wish Jonathan every success for the rest of the season and next year.”

Willie John McBride welcomed World Superbike Champion, Jonathan Rea back to Ballyclare.

Willie John McBride welcomed World Superbike Champion, Jonathan Rea back to Ballyclare.

Jonathan Rea is congratulated by North Antrim MP, Ian Paisley, South Antrim MP, Paul Girvan and Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Cllr Paul Hamill.

Jonathan Rea is congratulated by North Antrim MP, Ian Paisley, South Antrim MP, Paul Girvan and Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Cllr Paul Hamill.