BBC Sports Personality: Jonathan Rea’s exclusion branded ‘ludicrous’
The Kawasaki rider is the most successful rider of all time having bettered Carl Fogarty’s tally of four WSB titles and Joey Dunlop’s achievement of five consecutive Formula One world titles between 1982 and 1986.
However, the Ballyclare man’s record-breaking exploits have been overlooked by the panel at the BBC SPOTY awards.
British Superbike star, Glenn Irwin from Carrickfergus, believes his compatriot Rea should have been included in this year’s shortlist.
Speaking to the Times, the Honda rider said: “I think any world champion is deserving. I don’t think it’s a case of who’s not deserving.
“Perhaps the number of candidates could be widened. This isn’t a case of who doesn’t deserve it, it’s a case of showing respect to someone who deserves to be there along with the other candidates.”
Fellow Carrick motorcyclist Alastair Seeley echoed these sentiments.
Responding to this newspaper, Seeley, who is the most successful rider in the history of the North West 200 series said: “I think it’s a disgrace JR is not included.
“He is a six-time world champion on the bounce. It is truly amazing that he is not on the list. He should be winning BBC Sports Personality of the Year award every year.”
Commenting on the decision, South Antrim DUP MLA Pam Cameron said: “BBC Sports ‘personality’ of the year has again bypassed a nomination for Northern Ireland’s racing hero and record-breaking six times World Superbike champion.
“He’s still our local sports personality of the year regardless of what the BBC expert panel say!”
Branding Rea’s omission “disgraceful.” Newtownabbey Ulster Unionist Cllr Robert Foster said: “So Jonathan Rea, the six-time consecutive WSB champion again doesn’t make the list of six final contenders for BBC Sports Personality of the Year?
“It’s ludicrous and disgraceful, but then again we shouldn’t be surprised by a biased BBC.”
Posting on social media, former Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, John Scott said: “Jonathan Rea will always be the number 1 sports person to the people of Northern Ireland.”
Jonathan Rea, then a triple champion, finished runner up to Sir Mo Farah in the 2017 edition of the SPOTY awards in Liverpool.
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