editors have come together to compile a list of what we think is the definitive Top 100 riders and
drivers in motorsport this year.
Over the coming days we will be counting down to our #1, but in the meantime check out who we have placed 75 to 51...
75. Bradley Smith
8th in the MotoGP World Championship
A second season with the Tech 3 Yamaha team and de facto team leader following Cal Crutchlow's exit, Bradley Smith had a lot to prove in 2014. On the one hand he achieved his objectives, qualifying better, racing more consistently and scoring a maiden podium in the Australian Grand Prix. Unfortunately, he would lose out in a tight three-way battle for sixth overall, crucially behind his rookie team-mate Pol Espargaro.
74. Mike Conway
23rd in IndyCar Series
11th in the World Endurance Championship
We didn't see him all that often in 2014, but Mike Conway enjoyed several moments on top of the podium in 2014 in the IndyCar Series and the World Endurance Championship. Continuing with his sporadic IndyCar outings for Ed Carpenter Racing, Conway scored two road course wins in 2014, before being drafted in to replace Kazuki Nakajima in Toyota's WEC squad, winning again in Bahrain.
73. Peter Hickman
11th in the British Superbike Championship
Missing from the grid at the start of the season, Peter Hickman was drafted in as the replacement for the late Simon Andrews following his tragic death on the North West 200 and proceeded to notch up a hugely emotional maiden win at Cadwell Park – his first after more than 200 starts in BSB and on the circuit where Andrews achieved his one and only BSB podium.
72. Aron Smith
9th in the British Touring Car Championship
The VW CC may have seemed an unconventional choice for a BTCC entry when it debuted in 2013, but Aron Smith turned it into a race winner in 2014. Two victories for the Irishman proved historic moments for the ambitious BMR team. Better still, Smith can probably take more confidence from the fact he was comfortably faster than legendary team-mate Alain Menu throughout the season.
71. Ayrton Badovini
N/A in the World Superbike Championship
The only person in this countdown to be included despite not technically scoring a point, Ayrton Badovini was nonetheless a revelation for the World Superbike Championship in 2014. With homologation rules preventing Bimota from being classified, few expected the little-developed, low volume BB3 from being a competitive factor anyway. And yet competitive is exactly what it was, Badovini a front runner in the EVO class up until the manufacturer was unceremoniously dumped out of competition after failing to meet homologation deadlines.
70. Nico Hulkenberg
9th in the F1 World Championship
Having been linked with an available seat at Lotus over the winter, Nico Hulkenberg landed back at Force India and was all the better for it. Though Force India couldn't maintain a very strong start to the season and Hulkenberg's wait for a podium continues, the German was as consistent, solid and tactically astute as ever in 2014, leading him to a creditable ninth in the overall standings, ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez.
69. David Salom
12th in the World Superbike Championship
1st in the World Superbike Championship (EVO)
Overshadowed in terms of results by GP racing relative Luis Salom over the past few years, David Salom grabbed his moment in the spotlight by clinching the first (and only) WSBK EVO title with Kawasaki. Part development rider, part EVO racer, Salom was faultless in his consistency, picking up as many points as possible on a bike that would never challenge the 'championship' contenders in an equal fight. After many years of barely writing a headline, this was Salom's breakout year.
68. Jules Cluzel
2nd in the World Supersport Championship
Returning to the Supersport class in 2014 despite a strong rookie campaign at Superbike level, Jules Cluzel nonetheless had the honour of spearheading MV Agusta's renewed shot at world championship glory. Recording the manufacturer's first international win in 37 years at Phillip Island, Cluzel repeated the feat three times and though it wasn't enough to match runaway winner Michael van der Mark, his efforts ensured a fine runners-up spot and favourite status for 2015.
67. Benoit Treluyer
1st in the Le Mans 24 Hours
2nd in the World Endurance Championship
It's always hard to split up three drivers who shared the same car, but Benoit Treluyer loses a little bit of ground for the accident at the Silverstone season opener that ultimately prevented Audi from getting on terms with Toyota in 2014. Nonetheless, that is not to diminish some impressive achievements, not least his third career Le Mans 24 Hours win
66. Marcel Fassler
1st in the Le Mans 24 Hous
2nd in the World Endurance Championship
One-third of the #2 Audi line-up, Marcel Fassler joined Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer in maintaining Audi's enviable record at the Le Mans 24 Hours, as well as notch up his own third success. In doing so, the Swiss driver firmed his status as one of the most successful sportscar drivers of the modern era.
65. Oliver Rowland
4th in the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship
Touted as one of the UK's brightest future talents, Oliver Rowland proved himself in 2014 with an impressive performance in the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship. His first season in the category, the Fortec driver was a winner by round two and though the early hopes of a title challenge would fade, two victories and seven podiums would place him an noteworthy fourth overall.
64. Chris Walker
6th in the British Superbike Championship
Fourteen years after he last featured inside the British Superbike top six, Chris Walker enjoyed one of the best seasons of its illustrious career in 2014 on the GBmoto Kawasaki. Three podiums led to a spot inside the Title Showdown and though there was to be no fairytale run to that elusive title for the four-time runner-up, the veteran proved in 2014 that he is as strong as he has ever been.
63. Jason Plato
2nd in the British Touring Car Championship
He courts controversy amongst fans and teams alike, but Jason Plato remain of the best touring car drivers to come out of the United Kingdom. Complaints that his FWD MG didn't have the regulation parity to rival Colin Turkington's RWD BMW aside, Plato was as fast as ever in 2014 , adding six more wins to his record-breaking tally of BTCC successes, which now stands at 88.
62. Rob Huff
10th in the World Touring Car Championship
A driver more deserving than the breaks he has received in the last two years, Rob Huff accepted an offer to join LADA for 2014 but found much of his year hampered by a car that couldn't be adapted to the new regulations, simply because of its natural dimensions (it wasn't wide enough). A mid-season overhaul, however, transformed the car and Huff was on the podium at Argentina before claiming two surprise wins in China and Macau. With a new 'specially-designed' car coming in 2015, Huff may now have the machine deserving of his talent.
61. Sebastien Vettel
5th in the Formula 1 World Championship
The 2014 F1 season was a big reality check for four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel. From dominance to barely a footnote at times this season, Vettel's control over the sport came to an abrupt end in 2014. Though he received the lion's share of the reliability issues at Red Bull, it was the way in which he was comprehensively out-performed by Daniel Ricciardo that proved the most telling outcome for his years. That said, given non-Mercedes podiums were in short supply in 2014, Vettel still mustered four to go top five overall.
60. Petter Solberg
1st in the World RallyX Championship
World Rally favourite Petter Solberg became the first person to win two different FIA-sanctioned titles in 2014 after clinching the RallyX title. A big name to spearhead a growing form of racing, the jumps, slides and door-to-door action of the World RallyX Championship was made for the Norwegian, who scored four wins en route to the title.
59. Josh Brookes
4th in the British Superbike Championship
Sometimes controversial, always spectacular, Josh Brookes' quest for that elusive British Superbike Championship title continued in 2014 as he scored six wins but couldn't get into contention during the crucial Title Showdown. Fast, but sometimes error-prone on the Milwaukee Yamaha, Brookes' form fluctuated too often to mount a title bid, but when he was on form, few could stop him.
58. Ryan Hunter-Reay
6th in the IndyCar Series
1st in the Indy 500
Though a mid-season lull prevented him from launching what looked like a safe bid for a second career IndyCar Series title, Ryan Hunter-Reay at least achieved his aim of winning the Indy 500. One of three wins he would score in 2014, the American had form, if not consistency, on his side.
57. Norbert Michelisz
4th in the World Touring Car Championship
With Citroen coming out all-guns blazing at the start of the season, rivals were left to pick up the scraps for much of the 2014 season. Though 'best of the rest' is a seems a somewhat consolation prize, it's an impressive outcome for Norbert Michelisz who – despite not winning a race – took his privateer Zengo Honda Civic to fourth overall, ahead of the better funded, more developed factory Castrol Honda machines.
56. Loris Baz
5th in the World Superbike Championship
Though he didn't win a race in 2014 – unlike in 2012 and 2013 when it was less expected -, Loris Baz formed his most convincing WSBK campaign yet with Kawasaki. Though never quite seemingly in contention for the title, Baz was a regular podium winner in 2014, scoring nine in all, and earned himself a decent spot inside the overall top five in only his second full season of competition at this level.
55. Sebastien Loeb
3rd in the World Touring Car Championship
The greatest rallying driver of all time made a good fist of becoming the first person to win world titles on both stages and the track during his first season of WTCC racing. Though he had the all-conquering Citroen C-Elysee to hand, Loeb was never far from his more experienced team-mates – particularly Yvan Muller – and managed to reel off two wins. Though his door-to-door combat lack finesse at times, Loeb showed a lot of potential in 2014 given his relative experience.
54. Bruce Anstey
1 North West 200 win, 2 Ulster GP wins
Kiwi Bruce Anstey shows no signs of slowing down despite entering the twilight stage of his career as the laidback New Zealand man set the fastest lap in TT history this year. Anstey failed to add to his win tally on the Mountain Course but created one of the standout moments at TT2014 with a blistering outright lap record of 132.298mph on his way to fourth place in the Superbike race.
53. Toni Vilander and Gianmaria Bruni
1st in the Le Mans 24 Hours (GTE Pro)
1st in the World Endurance Championship (GTE Pro)
How can you separate two drivers who have now been partnered with remarkable success for several years now? The Finnish-Italian pairing notched up a third consecutive GTE Pro title for AF Corse with four wins from eight races and also prevailed in a thrilling Le Mans 24 Hours battle alongside ex-F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella to assure their status as arguably motorsport's most formidable pairing.
52. James Ellison
8th in the British Superbike Championship
It only takes a moment to change your season (often for the worst when it comes to bike racing) and that statement was especially true for James Ellison. The Englishman was on course for taking GBmoto Kawasaki into the Title Showdown for the first time when a crash whilst leading at Brands Hatch left him with an injury and a spell on the sidelines. Nonetheless, when he was in action Ellison was still a regular on the podium – 10 of the 18 races he started in 2014 no less, including at least four where he wasn't back to full fitness.
51. Jenson Button
8th in the F1 World Championship standings
Though it was his future that seemed to occupy the majority of the headlines towards the end of the season, Jenson Button enjoyed a number of eye-catching moments in 2014 that sometimes surpassed the ability of his middling McLaren-Mercedes. Though his year only yielded one podium, Button cracked the top five seven times to lift him to eighth overall – arguably the best the car was capable of.