Voting opens today for the Cornmarket Irish Motorcyclist of the Year, and the winner will be presented with the unique Joey Dunlop Trophy at the Cornmarket Motorbike Awards in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast on Friday 26th January 2018.
25 competitors from various disciplines of the sport have been nominated for the prestigious award in association with Enkalon. The final shortlist and ultimate winner will be decided by a special online public vote, and a panel of expert judges.
The overwhelming favourite is Jonathan Rea, who has lifted the trophy for the past two years. In a record breaking 2017 he became the first rider to ever win the World Superbike Championship three years in a row, and will fly in from pre-season training in Spain for the event in the New Year. Rea has also been nominated as one of the contenders for BBC Sports Personality of the Year which takes place this Sunday in Liverpool.
There are three sets of racing brothers on the list of nominees. Andrew, Glenn and Graeme Irwin had a season to remember. Andrew was runner up in the British Supersport Championship, BSB rider Glenn won a memorable final Superbike race at the International North West 200 and also won the Macau Grand Prix, while Graeme was crowned British Motocross Champion.
The other brothers included are World Superbike rider Eugene Laverty and BSB star Michael Laverty, plus Michael and William Dunlop. Michael won two Isle of Man TT races including the Senior TT.
Among the contenders, who will all be in attendance at the awards, are British Supersport Champion Keith Farmer, NW 200 record holder Alastair Seeley, who won four races at the event this year, BSB riders David Allingham, Josh Elliott and Carl Phillips, plus multiple Irish Champion Derek McGee.
Other riders chasing your vote are Martin Barr, Lee Johnston, Jack Kennedy, Jason Lynn, Adam Mclean, Eugene McManus, Andy Reid, Derek Sheils, Charles Stuart, and Scott Swann, all of whom had a successful season either on the home front or beyond.
The public vote, which will close on December 31st, can be accessed via any computer, ipad, iphone, android or mobile device, and will be overseen an expert panel of judges chaired by former British Champion Adrian Coates who said:
“Last year we had a massive vote topped by Jonathan Rea and this year we are hoping for even bigger. Rea is obviously the overwhelming favourite, but making the final shortlist is regarded as an important accolade for every rider, so there’s plenty at stake. This shortlist also helps decide some of the other awards on the night”
A dozen awards will also be presented at the sold out event, including IFS road racer of the year, Blackhorse Best Short Circuit rider on UK and Ireland circuits, JWA team of the year, RPS hall of fame, Greenlight Television special recognition, and Bet McClean race of year.
The full list of nominees is: