Rea nominated for prestigious Torrens Trophy

Jonathan Rea (left) and Leon Haslam are on the shortlist for the 2017 Torrens Trophy along with Dakar Rally winner Sam Sunderland.
Jonathan Rea (left) and Leon Haslam are on the shortlist for the 2017 Torrens Trophy along with Dakar Rally winner Sam Sunderland.

Three-time World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea has been nominated for the Royal Automobile Club’s prestigious Torrens Award.

The Ballyclare man plus Leon Haslam and Sam Sunderland are in the running for the coveted accolade, which was won last year by MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow, who became the first British winner of a premier class MotoGP race in 35 years. The award is handed out to ‘individuals or organisations who have produced an outstanding contribution to motorcycling in Britain’.

Rea made history this year as he became the first rider ever to win the World Superbike title in three successive seasons. The 30-year-old also set a new points record for the championship, bettering American Colin Edwards’ previous benchmark from 2002.

On Monday, Rea headed the times during the World Superbike test at Jerez in Spain by almost four-tenths from his Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes.

He was never challenged at the top of the time sheets as Rea continued to work on settings and parts for 2018, including the new rev limit.

However, he will miss the second day of the test on Tuesday as he receives his MBE back in England in recognition of his world championship success.

Dorset’s Sam Sunderland was nominated for the Torrens Trophy after becoming the first British winner of the Dakar Rally.

Haslam, meanwhile, completes the shortlist. He narrowly missed out on the British Superbike title this year but displayed commendable sportsmanship as he made his way to congratulate championship winner Shane Byrne, despite suffering a broken ankle following a high-speed crash at Brands Hatch.

The winner will be announced in January at a ceremony at the RAC’s Pall Mall clubhouse in London.

The Torrens Trophy nomination committee consists of Chairman and ex-bike racer Barrie Baxter, RAC members Ben Cussons and Richard Bourne, motorcycle journalist Mat Oxley, former racer and commentator Steve Parrish and new member Maria Costello MBE.

The winner will be announced in January at a ceremony at the RAC’s Pall Mall clubhouse in London.