Monday 17th December: Tracks Closed.

Meghan Rutledge

Interview in Europe

maddix park mx

www.mxlarge.com     Geoff Meyer

Australian Meghan Rutledge is a welcome surprise in the 2013 ladies WMX competition. The 18 year old racer from Sydney holds second place in the WMX, the class so far dominated by Italian title defender Chiara Fontanesi.

Meghan came to the opener at Valkenswaard where she scored a second, followed by a third in round two at Orehova Vas in Slovenia and fourth in Italy after a race through the field in moto two.

Meghan how do you plan to stop Chiara from winning? “My saying has always been that I never train for second place and always go for that number one plate.”

In a corner of the Slovenian WMX paddock we sat with Meghan and father Grant Rutledge was nearby preparing the Kawy. Most of her  competitors have a camper or truck with plenty of comfort but not the Rutledges. Meghan helped dad wash and clean the bike before we sat down and got her story.

The Aussies drove to Slovenia in a rented van and slept on the floor. In other words Meghan Rutledge came to Europe with a mission: “I want to be WMX World Champion.”

 Her profile reads that she started in mx at the age of four, how did that happen? “Dad got my two older sisters into racing motocross so I got brought up in around motocross tracks.”

 The profile also tells me you have tried other sports before motocross became your passion. “Yeah I tried football and cricket, all big team sports and was good in soccer being selected for the state team but did not enjoy it. I like team sports however it just did not have the adrenaline rush that motocross has.”

 Meghan won a lot of titles in her long career, how many to be precise?

 “I am undefeated Women’s champion since 2008 and I won uhh let me calculate, 6 titles. I won NSW state championships against the boys and yeah they don’t like to be beaten by a girl. At the age of seven I was the first female ever to win a state championship against the boys anywhere in the world.”

 Back home Meghan does 6 race weekends (2 days racing) in the Women’s class and then she also races the Under 19 Internationals against the boys. Before Slovenia she had just flown in from Australia. “I am the only woman in the Under 19 class with some 60 riders; currently I am running fifteenth but believe I can get a top ten.”

 QUEEN OF GENEVA

 Last winter Meghan did her WMX maiden race at Teutschenthal with the help of Pfeil Kawasaki and finished third, she came back in December for the Geneva Supercross and was crowned Queen of Geneva as the winner of the event. It shows this lady is very serious and all-round racer.

 “I have been racing in the USA Women’s last year but broke my hand at the third round. When I am at home I can help mum and dad out by working 4 to 5 days as a life guard at the pool.”

 Again with the help of the German Pfeil Team Meghan came to Valkenswaard to race against the fast ladies, she finished second in both motos but how did it go? “I had been racing in sand so no problem there but it was so very cold, I was still cold when I came in. On the second morning the frozen ground was like riding on cement.”

 “Team Pfeil could not afford to support me for the full season but then Team Rockstar Bud Racing from France stepped in. They supply me with Livia Lancelot’s bike, after she got injured.”

 “KawasakiAustralia helps me and a sponsor at home Troy Campbell provides the tickets for me and dad to fly to the races. Team Bud Racing is based in the south of France and we hired a van to drive to Slovenia.”

 “From Slovenia we go to Italy, then back to France and home as the Croatia round has been canceled. From a few weeks at home to America for the X Games and back home again. For the next WMX round we then fly back to Europe; travelling is a part of the fun.”

 Where are you based while in Europe? “I am not really based anywhere, we live out of a van. We drove all the way from France where Bud Racing is based and we slept on a mattress in the back of the van.”

 HOW TO BEAT CHIARA

 Taking the title from Chiara will be tough because the Italian is truly fast.

 “Valkenswaard was the first time I raced with Chiara and she is extremely fast and she did it again in Slovenia with another double. One day I really want to beat her and for that I need keep the bike on two wheels, concentrate and make a good start.”

 And after motocross? Dad had been listening while preparing the bike and joins the conversation: “Go road racing! The road racing guys in Australia have a motocross background. The transition from motocross to road racing is quite easy. I am sure she can do it; we have a women’s class on 250 four-stroke bikes.”

 Daughter has heard dad’s future plans a lot it seems.  “I am not so sure – I think if I try it I will like it.”

 After our conversation it is time for Meghan to race the two Slovenian motos. In the second one she had a mid- pack start and it was hard work to come through and finish third, the position she took in the overall results. Being second in the deep sand in Holland and third on the bone hard track in Slovenia proves this is a girl on a mission and more over with the dedication to make it a success.

 The dedicated youngster was rewarded in Australia in 2012 by the ‘Aim for the Stars’ foundation with an encouraging grant. This foundation values girls who show dedication, passion, integrity and the courage to follow their dream. If results speak for themselves than Meghan Rutledge ticks all of these boxes.

 Text and photos: Harry van Hemmen

 
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