A SPECIAL ceremony is to take place on Thursday to make World Sidecar Champion Steve Webster an honorary freeman of York.

York-born Steve was nominated for the distinction by Labour councillor Brian Watson.

Steve, 44, who now lives at Easingwold, won his ninth world title in September last year.

Steve said today: "It is brilliant, what an honour."

"I have floated around this area all my life. I grew up and went to school in York, so this means a lot to me.

"I know sportspeople do receive honours, but it is usually your Jonny Wilkinsons and Alan Shearers. It is nice to be thought of in that way for sitting on a motorbike and going fast.

"If it helps push the profile of sidecar racing, that is another bonus."

Updated: 10:31 Friday, April 23, 2004