MXGP of Czech Republic was momentous for a number of riders but for none more so than Yamaha MX Fonta Racing’s Kiara Fontanesi, who clenched her third consecutive FIM Women’s Motocross World Title. In her own words it was “the first title I have really ‘won’ because I only had four victories (out of a possible twelve) and ALL of the best girls in the world were racing this year”.
With the return of two of the most successful WMX riders in the world, 2008 FIM Women’s Motocross World Champion Team One One Four’s Livia Lancelot and multi-time FIM Women’s Motocross World Champion Team Dragon Moto’s Stephanie Laier, not to mention the latest young star on the rise hailing from Australia last years WMX runner-up Bud Racing Kawasaki’s Meghan Rutledge, the 2014 WMX series provided one of the most intense seasons to date.
While it was Rutledge who imposed the biggest threat, especially after her stellar start to the season where she absolutely dominated the opening round in Qatar with a double race victory which was strengthened in the third race of the championship in Trentino when she made it three from three race wins, it all came undone when a lapse in concentration saw her tumble to the ground and fail to gain points in race number four. Fontanesi was quick to capitalise on the Australian’s fumble to take home her first race win and one and only WMX overall this season.
After WMX’s round of Trentino, which was round two of the championship, Hitachi Construction Machinery UK KTM’s Natalie Kane claimed the WMX red plate for the first time in her career.
At round three in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, Kane led the championship one point clear of the defending champion Fontanesi who was a further three points clear of the early red plate holder Rutledge. In race one in Holland, the eager twenty-year-old Fontanesi took home her second race victory of the season but only managed to clasp fourth place in race two which saw Lancelot re-emerge to the front of the pack for her first victory of the season, after a mechanical failure in race one left her pushing her bike off of the track.
On that particular weekend Fontanesi lost the overall by one point to the Australian, Rutledge, who was the most consistent banking two seconds for her second overall round win. Nevertheless, Fontanesi made three points on Kane, which was enough to reclaim the all-important WMX red plate.
Round four in Saint Jean d’Angely, France was deemed the ‘Livia Lancelot show’ with the flamboyant local lady being on in a league of her own that weekend, absolutely dominating both races for her first round win of the season.
The penultimate round in Teutschenthal, Germany was hard fought for both main championship contenders Fontanesi and Rutledge as they both put away 1-2 results to tie on points for the round. With Rutledge winning the final moto of the day, she was awarded the victory, marking her third of the season, yet Fontanesi remained as the championship points leader.
With only four points in it, the sixth and final round of the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship was set to be a race to the checkers and when the gate fell for the penultimate race of the season it was Fontanesi who proved to be the most hungry for the win battling from behind and passing every title contender, Rutledge, Lancelot and Laier to extend her points lead with one to go.
Heading into the final race, seven points separated the two most likely to be crowned world champion, the defending champ Fontanesi and last years runner-up Rutledge.
Anticipation, anxiety, excitement were just a few of the many emotions flooding pit lane as friends, families and support crews watched the championship unfold. For a few moments throughout the race, the championship sat in the hands of Rutledge, but when the clock struck twenty minutes and the two-lap board came out, it was Lancelot who had complete control up front.
On the final lap, Fontanesi sat in behind Rutledge to take home a safe third sealing her fourth consecutive second overall result and proving to the world that consistency does win championships as she graciously took the WMX crown for the third year in succession.
“I am so happy to get the title because the season didn’t start so well for me” the Italian from Parma said, “I had a big crash in Qatar and I was also struggling with many other things, but after Teutschenthal I was still leading the championship so I told myself now is the time to take it seriously, I knew I had to push like hell for one month.”
Going into the final round in Loket the young Italian admitted she had been racing as much as possible and training on a lot of hard packed tracks in order to be fully prepared to clinch the world title once again, “I came here with a strong mentality and I knew I could get it. I wanted to get the first race victory because I knew it was more important than the second one and after I had a really bad start (in race one) I said to myself I really need to push because it’s now or now, I can’t get it later!” she laughed, “So, I gave everything I can, I don’t even know how I did that first lap, I started like fifteen and by the end of the first lap I was leading, so I found my rhythm and I won.”
“In race two I wanted to ride like I did in race one but it was not possible because I wasn’t feeling good on the bike, it was difficult to ride, it’s hard to explain. I did try to get Meghan (Rutledge) but in the end I decided it was better to stay in third and not crash. I wanted to win the overall because it is always nice to win, but it was not possible. Anyway I got the title and I couldn’t be more happy than I am now!” the Yamaha rider smiled.