For Rea, it is the latest in a string of high-profile accolades, from finishing runner-up in the Sports Personality of the Year contest, just 2,957 votes behind winner Sir Mo Farah, to being awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Barrie Baxter, Chairman of the Torrens Trophy Nominations Committee, said: “It gives me great pleasure to present the 2017 Torrens Trophy to Jonathan in recognition of his outstanding achievement. Aside from his remarkable talent, he’s a huge credit to our sport and is raising the profile of motorcycle racing in this country.”
Jonathan Rea made history during 2017 when he became the first rider to win three consecutive World Superbike crowns. Son of Isle of Man TT winner Johnny Rea, the 30-year-old from Ballymena in Northern Ireland moved to Kawasaki in 2015 and has been just about unbeatable ever since. Rea has been on the podium 112 times during his World Superbike career. Last season he won 16 of 26 World Superbike races, making history for the most points secured in a single season, with an amazing 556. This surpassed Colin Edwards’ points record from 2002 and Rea is now only one title short of Carl Fogarty’s record of World Superbike Championships.
Legendary commentator Murray Walker OBE said: “As a pathetically failed racing motorcyclist I’d give my eye teeth to have achieved what Jonathan has achieved. To be World Champion in something as demanding as the World Superbike Championship is very, very special but to do it three times in succession is quite incredible. Hats off to Kawasaki too. A superlative partnership.”
Former two-times World Superbike Champion and 2008 Torrens recipient James Toseland said: “His level of consistency, dedication and focus is unheard of. I’m sure that he can equal Carl Fogarty’s record of four titles this year. He’s definitely up there as one of the greatest superbike riders, without question.”
Jonathan Rea first began racing on tarmac in 2003 following an early career in motocross. This year the 31-year-old has his sights set on breaking even more records with his ZX-10R and securing his fourth title. He will also contest this year’s Suzuka 8 Hours for the factory Kawasaki team alongside Leon Haslam and Kazuma Watanabe.
The Club’s Torrens Trophy Nominations Committee consists of Chairman and ex-bike racer Barrie Baxter, Royal Automobile Club member Ben Cussons, well-respected motorcycle journalist Mat Oxley, former racer and commentator Steve Parrish, Club member Richard Bourne (son of motorcycle journalist Arthur Bourne, in whose memory the Trophy is awarded) and Queen of Bikers Maria Costello MBE, who has held the Guinness World Record for being the fastest woman to lap the Isle of Man TT course. The Torrens Trophy
The Torrens Trophy recognises an individual or organisation considered to have made an outstanding contribution to the cause of safe and skilful motorcycling in the United Kingdom OR to have made an outstanding contribution of technical excellence to further the cause of motorcycling in the UK OR to have shown outstanding skill in international motorcycling sporting events in the United Kingdom.
The Torrens Trophy was first awarded in 1978 in memory of Arthur Bourne, a motorcycling journalist who wrote a column under the pseudonym Torrens, which is Latin for ‘stream’. Arthur Bourne was also a Vice-Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club.
Previous winners of the Torrens Trophy include:
- 2016 MotoGP racer Cal Crutchlow for being first British rider to win a premier class World Championship Motorcycle Grand Prix in 35 years.
- 2015 Eleven-time TT winner Ian Hutchinson for his outstanding determination, courage and overcoming adversity to win multiple TTs.
- 2014 Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne for becoming the first man in history to be crowned MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship on four occasions (2003, 2008, 2012 and 2014).
- 2013 Tom Sykes for being crowned the 15th World Superbike Champion, the fourth from Great Britain and only the second rider to win for Kawasaki in the series for 20 years.