Northern Irishman awarded 'Key to Phillip Island' this morning.
Two-time Superbike world champion Jonathan Rea has been awarded the Key to the Phillip Island circuit today, honouring his association with the venue.
While Rea hails from Northern Ireland, his wife Tatia grew up in the Phillip Island area, making the Victorian destination a popular holiday choice for their family.
The factory Kawasaki rider was on a morning cycle ride with friends before being stopped by Cr Pamela Rothfield, the circuit’s managing director Fergus Cameron, a crew of local school children from Cowes Primary and his family, where they invited him to take an ‘adopted citizen’ status of the picturesque isle.
The kids then hauled him onto their school bus and took him to the Phillip Island karting track where they had a gift to unveil, his own Jonathan Rea Go Kart liveried in Kawasaki green, complete with race number one and his name emblazoned across the front.
“That was a massive surprise with my cycling mates,” Rea explained. “We pulled into the circuit and I got awarded the key to Phillip Island and got some special recognition from the community which was so nice.
“I really consider Phillip Island my second home – my wife was born here and lived her for many years and it’s nice to come back. To double-win last February here was amazing, it’s always the best round of year for me and we have it in the summer here, which is incredible.”
Rea will endeavour to claim his third-consecutive WorldSBK title in 2017 with the Kawasaki Racing Team, where the series is slated to commence at the Phillip Island circuit on 24-26 February.
“I’m looking forward to a new challenge for me for 2017. No one has even won three championships in a row, so that’s now my target,” he added. “It’s going to be tough, I mean the competition is hard but there’s no better place to start than here after winning the two races here last year and my good form here.
“It’s a target I set myself, but we have to respect our competition, there’s so many other faster guys but we just need to focus on ourselves with Kawasaki we have an incredible bike and I’ve got a lot of home support here as well so I’m looking forward to kick starting the season at Phillip Island and I really hope a lot of people come to watch.”
Tickets for the Yamaha Finance round of the WorldSBK at Phillip Island are available through Ticketek, with a three-day general admission pass costing $120 – a saving of $35 over the gate price. BarSBK passes, for undercover viewing locations at some of the most spectacular parts of the circuit are $260, while adult single-day passes cost $30 for Friday, $65 for Saturday and $80 for Sunday.
Camping is available for up to four nights for $105. Best of all, children aged 15 and under enter for free and camp for free, making the event affordable for families of all sizes. For more information ring the Superbike Hotline on 1300 728 007 or visit www.worldsbk.com.au.