The 2014 road racing season promised to be a vintage year and it didn’t disappoint. The defection of Michael Dunlop from Honda to BMW during the winter set the tone for a year of change that saw new names push their way in amongst the established figures and make their mark in the sport. These are MCN’s pick of the top names and their standout achievements between the hedges in 2014.
6th Dan Kneen
If someone had suggested at the start of the 2013 season that Dan Kneen would be considered amongst the top six riders of the road racing year they would have been laughed out of the paddock. The Manxman has always been fast but he had also gained a bit of a reputation as a crasher, which has hampered his progress. Getting his hands on a well set up Suzuki GSXR superbike for 2014 after joining the experienced squad of ex-Irish racer John Burrows’s team was a revelation for Kneen.
From the drop of the flag he completely dominated the Irish National scene, taking wins at Cookstown, Tandragee, Kells, Skerries, Faugheen and Walderstown. But it was his performance at the Ulster Grand Prix, where he won the Superstock race from Dean Harrison and Bruce Anstey, which highlighted Kneen’s new status as a contender at the highest level. His 2014 efforts have been rewarded with a factory backed ride for Suzuki in 2015 with the Millsport squad.