For the third year running 32-year -old Superbike World Champion Jonathan Rea was awarded the Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year!
The Kawasaki racer claimed his most dramatic Superbikes title yet in 2019, mounting a mammoth comeback to defeat Alvaro Bautista to the title. Rea was also named BBC NI Sports Personality of the Year 2019 last month. Rea is very a humble athlete and pledged that he will donate any prize money he picks up when the new Superbike season opens in Australia next month to the country’s bushfire appeal.
Ballyclare-born star Rea was unable to accept the award in person but his wife Tatia, who comes from Australia, said her family’s house in Wandiligong, outside the town of Bright in the state of Victoria, had come under threat from the fires raging across her home country.
“As Australians, we have lived with bushfires during the summer all of our lives,” she said.
“However, this year has been an exception – something so much more than ‘normal fires’.
“I first realised the severity of the situation when my parents got a knock on their door at our Wandi property, which is North East of Victoria.
“The police told them they had to evacuate. Luckily for us they had somewhere else to go, back to our coastal family home on Phillip Island.
“Since then our home has been under direct threat twice with the fires only 6km away.
“It is a miracle that we’ve escaped this devastation and our home still stands, unlike so many others.
“That’s why Jonathan has decided to make a donation to the bushfire appeal when we are out in Phillip Island next month for the start of the 2020 World Superbike season.”
Congratulations to Jonathan and we wish you continued success this year!
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