By Sarah DiMare | Photos courtesy of Roman Borak and Youthstrem

While this year's WMX Triple Crown and its close battle was covered heavily by the American media, overseas the FIM WMX World Championship was dominated by four riders that made it to the top at nearly every race. The names may be familiar as two of the top players, Chiara Fontanesi and Meghan Rutledge, captured medals in Women's Moto-X at this year's X Games in Los Angeles.

Defending champion Chiara Fontanesi dominated the 2013 FIM WMX World Championship from the start.

Round One- Valkenswaard, The Netherlands 3/31/2013

Monster Energy Yamaha's Chiara Fontanesi took an early lead in moto one and quickly put distance between herself and Bud Racing Kawasaki's Meghan Rutledge, who had won the qualifying race. Rutledge worked to catch Fontanesi but it was to no avail, as the defending champion was determined to keep the newcomer at bay. HM Plant KTM UK's Natalie Kane and Rabbit Racing's Stephanie Laeir battled over third place, and after a long charge, Kane was able to take the position from Laier.

Moto One Results
1. Chiara Fontanesi
2. Meghan Rutledge
3. Natalie Kane
4. Stephanie Laier
5. Larissa Papenmeier

Australian Jessica Moore claimed the holeshot in moto two, but was quickly passed by Natalie Kane and Meghan Rutledge. Chiara Fontanesi, who had suffered a poor start, charged into the top-three and from there the battle was on! The last five minutes of the race proved to be a nail biter as Rutledge, Kane, and Fontanesi battled it out for the top position on the podium. Rutledge managed to take the lead from Kane but with two laps to go, Fontanesi made a pass on Rutledge and overtook the lead. Rutledge crashed shortly after the close pass by Fontanesi, but was able to quickly recover and maintain second. Kane after having to fight the lapped traffic, was able to finish a close third.
After Rutledge's performance, who was only to be a one round guest, was offered the chance to race the rest of the series with Team Rockstar Bud Racing Kawasaki.

Moto Two Results
1. Chiara Fontanesi
2. Meghan Rutledge
3. Natalie Kane
4. Stephanie Laier
5. Larissa Papenmeier

Overall Points Standings
1. Chiara Fontanesi 50
2. Meghan Rutledge 44
3. Natalie Kane 40
4. Stephanie Laier 36
5. Larissa Papenmeier 32

Meghan Rutledge was originally scheduled to race only the opening round of the championship, but her 2-2 scores earned her a full-time ride, and the Australian finished second in the overall standings.

Round Two- Orehova Vas, Slovania 6/10/2013

Moto one began with a massive crash in the first corner that took down 10 of the 26 riders. Chiara Fontanesi was able to avoid the pile up and went on to take the early lead, while Natalie Kane in an efforts to catch the Italian rider. Further back was a battle between Stephanie Laier and Meghan Rutledge for third but by the end of the race, Rutledge was able to pull away from Laier and take the position.

Moto One Results
1. Chiara Fontanesi
2. Natalie Kane
3. Meghan Rutledge
4. Stephanie Laier
5. Francesca Nocera

After another great start in moto two, Fontanesi was able lead the entire race unchallanged. Laier and Rutledge again squared off in the second moto, this time for second place, with the better finish going to Laier. A poor start put Kane outside the top-10, but she spent the entire pushing and finished a respectable fourth place. The overall results had Fontanesi with yet another perfect score and had Kane, Rutledge, and Laier all tied for second place, with the position going to Laier.

Moto Two Results
1. Chiara Fontanesi
2. Stephanie Laier
3. Meghan Rutledge
4. Natalie Kane
5. Francesca Nocera

Overall Points Standings
1. Chiara Fontanesi 100
2. Meghan Rutledge 84
3. Natalie Kane 80
4. Stephanie Laier 76
5. Nancy Van De Ven 56

Natalie Kane surprised many with her consistency and overall win. Unfortunately, a DNS in the final round of the series knocked Kane from second to fourth in the championship standings.

Round Three- Maggiora, Italy 6/16/2013

Once again, Fontanesi took the holeshot and led another race from start to finish, with the battle for second again between Laier and Rutledge. Rutledge was able to get by Laier to secure second place, but was still unable to catch the Italian. Kane's moto was plauged by a few rough laps, but she was able to buckle down and make a pass on Laier for third.

Moto One Results
1. Chiara Fontanesi
2. Meghan Rutledge
3. Stephanie Laier
4. Anne Borchers
5. Justine Charroux

Rutledge broke Fontanesi's streak of holeshots with a great start in the second moto, until a crash on the opening lap allowed Fontanesi to take the position. Behind Fontanesi a ruthless battle was waged between Kane and Laier for second place. After numerous laps of intense racing, Kane won the battle and left Laier to third place. Rutledge's crash put her outside of the top-20, yet she managed to come back to ninth place in the moto and fourth overall.

Moto Two Results
1. Chiara Fontanesi
2. Natalie Kane
3. Stephanie Laier
4. Francesca Nocera
5. Nancy Van de Ven

Overall Points Standings
1. Chiara Fontanesi 150
2. Meghan Rutledge 118
3. Natalie Kane 117
4. Stephanie Laier 116
5. Nancy Van de Ven 82

Veteran Stephanie Laier was a force on the circuit and claimed third in the overall standings for her efforts.

Round Four- Matterley Basin, Great Britain 8/25/13

Kane claimed the holeshot and led the opening lap until Fontanesi took the position in the early moments of the first moto. With that, Fontanesi managed to lead the rest of the race and rebuffed Kane's strikes for the spot. Rutledge and Laier spent most of the moto swapping third place, with Rutledge prevailing.

Moto One Results
1. Chiara Fontanesi
2. Natalie Kane
3. Meghan Rutledge
4. Stephanie Laier
5. Britt Van De rWekken

Kane once again took the holeshot in the second moto and was able to hang on to the lead for the entire moto. Not only was it her first career win in a world championshi, but also the first person to beat out Fontanesi in 2013. A battle between Rutledge and Fontanesi for second place captured plenty of attention and Rutledge claimed spot and left Fontanesi to a third place finish. Laier had problems during the race and at one point was outside the top ten, but the perseverance that made her a four-time World Champion kicked in and she was able to make it to fourth place by the final flag.

Moto Two
1. Natalie Kane
2. Meghan Rutledge
3. Chiara Fontanesi
4. Stephanie Laier
5. Nancy Van de Ven

Overall Points Standing
1. Chiara Fontanesi 195
2. Natalie Kane 164
3. Meghan Rutledge 160
4. Stephanie Laier 152
5. Nancy Van de Ven 112

Fontanesi claimed four of the six overall victories in 2013, and overcame an injury at the final round to lock up the title, her second in as many years.

Round Five – Pacov, Czech Republic 9/1/2013

Genette Vage and Nancy Van de Ven created plenty of excitement in the first moto, as the two rookies jumped to the front of the pack and led the first three laps. Fontanesi worked to overtake the two young racers and ran off to another victory. A bad start put Laier back in the order, but she came came to pass the rookies as well and claimed second place. Kane and Rutledge also pulled poor starts yet both climbed back to fourth and fifth, respectively.

Moto One Results
1. Chiara Fontenasi
2. Stephanie Laier
3. Nancy Van Der Ven
4. Natalie Kane
5. Meghan Rutledge

The second race was a completely different story, with Fontanesi and Rutledge taking control of the moto from the moment the gate dropped. They fought ruthlessly for the lead until the final lap, when Fontanesi pulled away to inch out a one-second lead at the checkered flag. Kane and Laier took third and fourth, respectively.

Moto Two
1. Chiara Fontanesi
2. Meghan Rutledge
3. Natalie Kane
4. Stephanie Laier
5. Nancy Van De Ven

Overall Points Standings
1. Chiara Fontanesi 245
2. Natalie Kane 202
3. Meghan Rutledhe 198
4. Stephanie Laier 192
5. Nancy Van de Ven 148

Fontanesi crossing the finish line in first was a common sight on the FIM WMX World Championship circuit. The Monster Energy Yamaha backed racer nabbed a number of holeshots and moto wins.

Round Six- Senkvice, Slovakia 9/8/13

20 racers lined up for the final round of the championship, setting the stage for a pair of thrilling motos. After claiming the overall victories at four of the five contested rounds, Fontanesi needed to finish only 16th or better to add another title to her list. However, she came into the round with an ankle injury which increased the tension and changed the plan of attack from winning to surviving. With the championship was practically sealed, attention was turned to the Rutledge and Kane's intense fight for second place. Only four-points separated the two, but the advantage went to Kane thanks to her overall win earlier in the year.

Laier claimed the holeshot in the opening moto and led the first laps, but she could not keep Rutledge behind and the young Australian took the win by five seconds. This win, and Kane's DNS in the first moto, allowed Rutledge to jump to second place in the standings.

Moto One
1. Meghan Rutledge
2. Stephanie Laier
3. Chiara Fontansi
4. Justine Charroux
5. Nina Klink

Kane was determined to make up the points lost by missing the first moto, and it showed in her riding. She netted an early lead and dashed away from the field to a dominating victory, with Fontanesi and Rutledge taking second and third, respectively. 2-3 scores on Rutledge's part gave her the overall win as well as second in the championship. Laier's consistency throughout the year and Kane's missing moto put allowed the veteran to snag third in the standings.

Moto Two
1. Natalie Kane
2. Chiara Fontanesi
3. Meghan Rutledge
4. Stephanie Laier
5. Nina Klink

Overall Points Standings
1. Chiara Fontanesi 287
2. Meghan Rutledge 243
3. Stephanie Laier 232
4. Natalie Kane 227
5. Nancy Van de Ven 173

The 2014 FIM Women's World Motocross Championship will consist of six rounds, and after the way this season played out, it is sure to be intense. In addition to the six-race series, the events will take place on Sunday, the same as the premier men's classes.

The 2014 FIM WMX World Championship will again be six rounds, but will be held on Sundays and run in conjunction with the premier men’s championships.

More about the leading ladies of the 2013 FIM WMX World Championship

Chiara Fontanesi, 19, hails from Parma, Italy. After watching her brothers ride, she received her first bike at the age of three and quickly became one of the fastest women in the world. By winning the 2012 FIM Women’s Motocross World Champion, she is both the first Italian and the first Yamaha rider as well to take the honor! She came to the US in 2012 and and won both motos at the Lake Elsinore National, then took the bronze medal in Women's Moto X at the 2013 X Games.

Meghan Rutledge, known as “Mad Meg”, is an Australian. Rutledge started riding at the age of four and become the first girl to win state-sanctioned championships in Australian against both genders. She is a four-time Australian Female Junior Champion, two-time Australian women's champion, and in 2012 was voted Dirt Action's Rider of the Year and Women's Rider for the Year two years running. Meghan has competed and medaled in the Moto X portion of X Games Los Angeles and finished third in the FIM WMX World Championship.

Stephanie Laier, 28, hails from Heidelberg, Germany. She is a seven-time World Champion, and holds a multiple championships, including the UEM European Enduro Championship. In 2010 she was voted the FIM Motorsports Woman of the Year and has raced in the United States, taking third in the Hangtown National. She has also competed in the X Games in Women's Moto X.

Natalie Kane, 21, is from a small town in Northern Ireland. "Kaner" holds many championship titles as well and although World Champion is not yet one of them, she is well on her way, being one of only two riders to beat out Fontanesi this season. In 2012, Kane held the first "girls-only" training day in the UK to promote and encourage female riders, knowing the challenges they face in the industry.

Past Winners of the FIM WMX World Championship
2013 – Chiara Fontanesi Yamaha
2012 – Chiara Fontanesi Yamaha
2011 – Stephanie Laier KTM
2010 – Stephanie Laier KTM
2009 – Stephanie Laier KTM
2008 – Livia Lancelot Kawasaki
2007 – Katherine Prumm Kawasaki
2006 – Katherine Prumm Kawasaki
2005 – Stephanie Laier KTM