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Jonathan Rea sets sights on making more history after creating SPOTY shock

Jonathan Rea with his second place trophy during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2017 at the Liverpool Echo Arena.

Northern Ireland's Jonathan Rea, the real surprise at a dramatic BBC Sports Personality of the Year show, is aiming to make more history next year.

The three-time World Superbike champion, almost unheard of outside his native country and his sport, came within 3,000 votes of shocking the man who shocked the pre-show favourite.

Four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah took the top prize, with heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua only fourth on the night, but it was the 30-year-old Rea's second place that really confounded the bookies.

There was a feeling at Liverpool's Echo Arena that Rea, strongly backed by the motorcycling community, would do better than his relatively low UK-wide profile would suggest but few expected him to do so well.

Speaking to Press Association Sport, Rea said even being shortlisted for the award was "the icing on the cake of an incredible year".

"To win three championships on the bounce, have my MBE at Buckingham Palace a few weeks ago and now to be here - it's very non-sport specific and that really means a lot," he said.

When asked if this recognition was a little overdue, given his domination of superbikes over the last three years, he said: "In my sport it's always been there but just outside the sport, nationally and globally, it's a little bit more busy now.

"There are positives and minuses with that, but I'm enjoying the moment."

He later told BBC that he must have damaged a few phone bills in Northern Ireland on Sunday night and thanked his supporters via Twitter, saying he is "so humbled".

But if the rest of the country did not know who he was prior to last night, they certainly do now. And there should be more to come from the Larne racer.

"I'm definitely aiming for that fourth title - the greatest of all time Carl Fogarty has four titles, so that's something I'm looking forward to next year," he said.

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