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Kiara Fontanesi at the 2018 Grand Prix of Trentino

Kiara Fontanesi: The comeback from motherhood to racing

Feb 202020

“Motorcycle racing is my lifestyle, not my life”. Kiara Fontanesi has clear ideas on and off the track. For the determined 25-year-old Italian racer, it couldn’t be different. Kiara knows what she wants, and how to turn her dreams into reality. At such a young age, she can boast six Women’s Motocross World titles, and she is ready to surprise with a new challenge.

In 2019 she was not at the starting blocks to defend her title because she was preparing for the biggest win of her life; the birth of her daughter Skyler. What’s next on her bucket list? Winning a world championship as a mother!

For those of you who know this gritty athlete, it makes a lot of sense; as family has always been her reference. Her first memory as a child was riding free in the paddock on a Yamaha PW 50 with her mom Roberta while her dad Massimo was focused on her older brother Luca, who was racing Motocross. Life is funny because twenty years later, the Fontanesi family is still fully committed to racing, but with the roles reversed; Kiara is on the track, while Luca runs Fonta MX, the family team with whom she won the six crowns.

On March 1st at Matterley Basin, UK, fresh from maternity leave Kiara will be back at the starting blocks for a new challenging season.

"I spent nine amazing months dedicated to myself with my body going through an incredible transformation."

How do you feel after one year of absence from the WMX circuits?

Kiara: “I’m excited and stronger than when I left a year ago. At the end of 2018, I was suffering through some issues that we discovered were due to physically and mentally overtraining. I was exhausted. Pregnancy has been the best medicine. Apart from the first few months, I had a beautiful pregnancy. I was able to dedicate myself to doing what racers, for lack of time, can never do, which ranged from a whole day on the sofa to spending two months by the sea with my grandmother baking cakes and preparing jams with fruits from our garden. I spent nine amazing months dedicated to myself with my body going through an incredible transformation.”

Did you watch the races on TV?

Kiara: “I attended two races, but I didn’t follow the championship on TV. It was a time of detox from racing and it was really useful because now I am really excited to return.”

Family first…

Kiara: “Yes, I have always said that motorcycle racing is my lifestyle, but not my life. I inherited this passion from my family. I followed in the footsteps of my older brother Luca who was racing motocross. I would like to thank my parents because I was never forced or limited. My dad left me free to decide, and was always there to support me, giving me the best tools to face the challenges head on. My family has always been a pillar in my life. We have come all this way together.”

So the Fonta MX team

Kiara: “My family plays a crucial part in my career, because we have always worked together going in the same direction. I know that they will always have my back. My dad founded the team, now Luca runs it, while my mom plays the most important role, which is looking after my daughter Skyler, while I train.”

What advice did you receive from your father?

Kiara: “My father taught me to remain humble. “Always remember where you come from”. His words are tattooed in my mind as a mantra, while on my ankle it’s written: “ohana”, which means family in Hawaiian. I also have the initials of my parents tattooed.”

Each tattoo tells a story, have you already thought to dedicate one to Skyler?

Kiara: “It will be Skyler’s footprint, our three initials (Skyler, Devin, my partner, and mine), and 8, my race number. Number 8 was also my brother’s race number, so something that reminds me of my family.”

How did the arrival of Skyler change your approach to racing?

Kiara: “Becoming a mother while I was young has always been my dream, so I’m really happy. Now, it is not just me, having Skyler beside me is an incredible joy and an extra motivation to do well. My preparation hasn’t changed, it’s only more concentrated and maximized, which allows me to take the full impact out of training and dedicate the rest of my time to my daughter.”

Do you feel ready for the start of the season?

Kiara: “With the championship starting in March, we have decided to focus on spending as much time as possible on the bike rather than in the gym. In a way it was a run against time, but I don’t think I’m behind my competitors. What I miss a bit is the rider to rider battle. But I am sure this will come back with the first races.”

Can you imagine what will spin in your mind when the gate will drop in England for the inaugural race of the season?

Kiara: “It will be an emotional moment. I thought about this moment several times during the pregnancy as my daughter will be there to watch me. It’s a big challenge to be at the starting blocks only three months after Skyler was born.”

What is your target for the coming season?

Kiara: “My goal is to fight for the podium. Then, deep inside me, I know that I want more. I finished the 2018 season with a crown, so I will do my best to repeat this result.”

Who do you see as your toughest rival?

Kiara: “Courtney Duncan remains the reference. She is very strong and fast, but she can make mistakes when she is under pressure.”

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Kiara: “It’s difficult to say, but I definitely see myself with one more title as a mum. I’d like to give Skyler a sister or a brother. And then there is the KF8 Mx Training Academy, that needs my contribution.”

Can you tell me more about the Academy?

Kiara: “It’s a unique and complete project dedicated to the young talents, and their families, who want to grow in Motocross. I remember when we started, my parents had to face several difficulties; from finding the budget to choosing the best trainer or the best team. The KF8 Mx Training Academy, founded in my hometown Ponte Taro (Parma), aims at transferring our racing experience to young riders, so that they can grow technically, and mentally.”

Would you like your daughter to become a racer?

Kiara: “Maybe she will ask me to ride, seeing me spending so much time on a bike. I will let her free to decide about her future. Skyler on a motorbike? I love skiing, so rather than bike racing, one day I would like to see her, coming down a white slope competing in the Ski World Cup.”