Awarded for achievements in motorcycling, there are three nominees for the 2017 Torrens Trophy: Rea, Haslam or Sunderland. The award is organised by the Royal Automobile Club and was only given out when the club felt achievements deserved it. Which has happened 9 times since it was started in 1978, but it’s been deserved every year since 2013. And this year the committee will decide between Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam and Sam Sunderland.
None of the nominees probably need an introduction, but just in case…
Jonathan Rea became the first rider to win three World Superbike Championships in a row in 2017, as the 30-year-old Northern Irishman took 16 wins in 26 races to also set an all-time points record in a season.
Sam Sunderland made history as well, becoming the first British rider to ever win the gruelling Dakar Rally in almost 40 years since it started. Which meant riding hundreds of miles each day on his KTM Racing machine across Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina against world class competitors.
And the final nomination is for Leon Haslam. The MotoGP, World Superbike and now British Superbike racer came within laps of potentially winning the 2017 BSB title until a technical failure led to a 170mph crash. And yet despite the disappointment, plus a broken wrist and ankle among his injuries, Haslam postponed treatment until after he was able to congratulate new champion Shane Byrne on the start/finish line at Brands Hatch.
The winner will be announced and receive the Torrens Trophy at the RAC Pall Mull clubhouse at the start of 2018. The Torren’s Trophy Nominations Committee includes Chairman and ex-bike racer Barry Baxter, Royal Automobile Club member Ben Cussons, respected journalist Mat Oxley, ex-racer and commentator Steve Parrish, Club member Richard Bourne (son of journalist Arthur Bourne, whom the Trophy is awarded in memory of, named for his Torrens column), and racer Maria Costello MBE.
The previous winners include:
- 1989 BMW in recognition of their contribution to motor cycle safety through their development of their anti-lock braking system.
- 1998 Ian Kerr of the Metropolitan Police for 20-years of tireless work in promoting safe and responsible motorcycling.
- 2008 World Superbike Champion James Toseland for his immense contribution to raising the profile of motorcycle racing in this country.
- 2013 Tom Sykes for being crowned the fifteenth World Superbike Champion, the fourth from Great Britain and only the second rider to win for Kawasaki in the series for twenty years.
- 2014 Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne for his unique achievement of securing a fourth British Superbike Championship.
- 2015 Ian Hutchinson for his outstanding determination, courage and overcoming adversity to win multiple TT’s.
- 2016 Cal Crutchlow for being the first British rider to win a MotoGP race in 35 years.
So who would you pick as your winner?