Rider of the Month: February - Jonathan Rea
Northern Irish Motorcycle Racer, Jonathan Rea is currently all amped up and ready to hit the road ahead of the World Superbike Season 2020. Rea celebrated his 33rd birthday on the 2nd of this month, so we thought we’d celebrate the rider himself! If you’d like to learn a little bit more about our February’s Rider of the Month, Jonathan Rea, then carry on reading!
It’s in the Blood
Before Jonathan was born, his grandfather was a big supporter of the well known and loved, Joey Dunlop. He appreciated him so much, that he even sponsored the hero! In reality, mentioning many names could be very confusing, because his grandfather was called John and his dad was called Johnny. Speaking of his dad, he was also a favoured racer, often competing in the Isle of Man TT, taking reign in the Senior TT back in 1989 when Jonathan was just 2 years old – doubt he remembered that.
Jonathan and his wife Tatia (who hails from down under) have two sons, Jake and Tyler. I guess time will tell if the young lads will end up on a set of two wheels of their own.
The Early Stages of Jonathan Rea’s Career
Back in the day, Rea started off his fascination and dedication to motorbikes in the world of motocross. He was pretty successful in that field, competing for Red Bull. In 1997 at the tender young age of just 10, Jonathan claimed second place in the 60cc category.
Jonathan would continue to compete and ride motocross until his friends, Sidecar riders Michael and Eugene Laverty managed to persuade him to play the field a bit, or their lack of. In 2003 Jonathan decided to switch up his terrain to tarmac. This was the year that he took part in the British 125cc championship.
It’s safe to say, Jonathan was hooked. In 2005 Jonathan was ready to dive in head first, swinging his leg over a Honda Fireblade and partnering up with Red Bull once again. This would make him the youngest rider to ever have a pole position at BSB.
Once he had got into the swing of things is when the competition really begun. Following his 16th finish in 2005, in 2006 Rea managed to beat the late Karl Harris into 4th place. But the following year was when he really made a name for himself.
In 2007 Rea partnered with Japanese Champion, Ryuichi Kiyonari. Taking Harris’ Factory Honda slot, he won 2nd place.
Jonathan Rea Takes on the World (Superbike Championship)
In 2008, for a brief time, Rea dipped his toes into World Supersport Championship where he came runner up. This didn't last long, the following season Jonathan plunged feet first; or wheels first, into the World Superbike Championship. The next 6 years was pretty steady going for Rea, claiming the podium a good handful of times each year.
In 2012, Rea briefly dipped into MotoGP, replacing Casey Stoner following his injury. He finished 8th in the San Marino, and 7th at Motorland Aragon.
2015 was the year that Jonathan Rea truly astounded the nation. This was the year that he signed for the Kawasaki racing team along with Huddersfield-born Tom Sykes. This year, Rea blew all expectations, dominating the podium a total of 14 times.
Rea continued to blow the minds of spectators the following years. In 2018 he broke his own record and took the podium 17 times, claiming the same figure in 2019. This brings his total WSBK wins to 88!
This year, we're really excited to see what tricks Jonathan has up his sleeve for the 2020 season! For Jonathan's full career history - check out his website!
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3 Mar 2020