Superbikes world champion Jonathan Rea: ‘I want to stay where I am, at the top’

The triple title-winning Northern Irishman on his pride at being on the Spoty shortlist, proving doctors wrong after being told his career could be over, being bullied at school and how a switch to MotoGP is still not out of the question

“I never doubted myself, but I doubted I’d get the opportunity,” Jonathan Rea says at the end of a wild day in and around Bushmills, a village 60 miles from Belfast. After becoming the Superbikes world champion for an unprecedented third year in a row, and now on the shortlist for Sunday’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, Rea has had to weather a sudden burst of fame and a battering storm on the north coast.

The driven yet unassuming 30-year-old has been filmed by the BBC at Giant’s Causeway, a beautiful area on a normal day but a wilderness on a morning where he is more exposed than when racing at 200mph. Rea still looks unflappable as he waits for a cup of tea next to a roaring open fire at the local hotel.

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