Jonathan Rea’s Kawasaki on show at Northern Ireland Motorcycle Festival

World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea.
World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea.

Jonathan Rea’s championship-winning World Superbike machine will take centre stage at the Blackhorse Northern Ireland Motorcycle Festival this weekend.

Rea’s Ninja ZX-10R will be the centrepiece on the Kawasaki stand at the three-day biking spectacular, which gets underway on Friday at the Eikon Exhibition Centre in Lisburn.

Ulster star Rea, who retained the Joey Dunlop Trophy after being named the Irish Motorcyclist of the Year for the second season running at the Cornmarket Motorbike Awards last week, is bidding to make history in 2017 by becoming the only rider ever to win the title three times on the spin.

Another special machine on show is the Pata Yamaha R1 ridden by Alex Lowes in the World Superbike Championship last year.

A host of top names will be in attendance over the weekend, including 14-time Isle of Man TT winner and world lap record holder Ian Hutchinson, who will be at the venue tomorrow and again on Saturday.

World Superbike legend and ‘King of the Jungle’ Carl Fogarty also returns to the event this year on Saturday and Sunday, while Carrick’s Glenn Irwin – who is currently testing in Spain this week with the British Superbike PBM Be Wiser Ducati team – is another familiar face who will be at the event this weekend.

Bradford’s Dean Harrison, who will again ride Kawasaki machines this year for the Silicone Engineering Racing team, joins his good friend Lee Johnston from Fermanagh on Saturday and Sunday, when the pair will be on hand to mingle with the fans and sign autographs.

There will be plenty of action outside the main venue with Michael Dunlop putting his Ford Escort Mk2 rally car through its paces, while the famous Purple Helmets stunt display team will be up to their wacky antics.

Many of the new models launched by manufacturers for 2017 will be on display and another highlight will be the Temple Club’s David Jefferies Memorial Supermoto event outside the centre on Saturday and Sunday.

Opening times: Friday, February 3 (2pm-10pm); Saturday, February 4 and Sunday, February 5 (10am-5pm).

Admission: Adults £12 (senior citizens £6). Children U16 admitted free.