2003, Anaheim is just around the corner, your thoughts?
Well, we pretty much got the bike finished on testing, and we have the bike all dialed in. We are really excited about the bike being completely different – from the ground up.
We felt like we have been held back the last few years with our machine but now we feel like we have the best bike out there.
I feel very confident in our bikes now. It’s been a while since I have felt confident. Coming into Anaheim I feel like I can win. That’s a big difference. Going into last year I wasn’t really thinking I could win. I was just thinking about building for the future and getting uses to the team, and getting used to the bikes, but now I am ready to go.
The Kawasaki team environment is different. The team is outgoing, a little bit more friendly and little bit more personal than some others. Everybody enjoys what they are doing and it rubs off on everyone else. It’s more positive and the bikes are great.
How do you prepare for an upcoming season?
I am pretty much doing the same stuff since 98. I think I have a good training program. I don’t get tired when I ride so why change anything?
I am going into this season with the same attitude I had back then. I don’t want to give an inch. Ricky has been the guy to set the tone. And it would mean a lot to me to go to the first race and set the tone myself. Be aggressive, not necessarily be dirty, but make my presence known.
How long do plan on racing?
That’s hard to say. I think the thought really crosses your mind about this time in your life, when you’re 27 and most guys aren’t really racing when they are over 30, 31, 32. I definitely have thought about it. But I am pretty competitive and I want to win. I don’t want to waste my time or anyone else’s time if I can’t go out there and win. If I don’t start doing that… who knows.
One positive – my wife is very supportive of my racing career. I started this a long time ago and when it’s time to end it I think I will be able to make that decision and live with it.
What kind of work goes into testing the 2003 bikes?
Pretty much everything you can think about. From chain rollers, to fork springs to rear tires. What we’ve been concentrating on the last couple of weeks is developing a very powerful motor to strengthen our chances to win.
Who would you say is your biggest competitor?
Well, you know you have to go with the defending champion first of all. And there’s a lot of new guys actually. I think Timmy Ferry is going to be a tough threat other than Ricky. You’ve got Chad Read coming in, he’s going to be pretty tough. David Vuillemin. I’ve got to respect every guy who lines up because there all great athletes and they have all had a good day at one time or another.
You are on the team with James Stewart, tell me about him.
I get along great with James. James kind of grew up in the same atmosphere as I did on the east coast, so I can relate to him right off the bat with that. He’s a cool kid and just wants to have fun, and is winning races and he just loves life right now. You know it’s cool because he respects the stuff he has. He works hard and really wants to win, and he deserves it.
What motivates you to race?
The competitiveness of racing is what motivates me the most. To wake up on a race morning and be nervous. To be nervous and go out and race. It’s cool, it drives you. If you’re not nervous then you obviously don’t want to be there.
v What do you do when you are not racing?
I play golf a lot. I like to wake board, and I run a lot. I hang out with my friends, but I’m pretty mellow. I don’t really go out a lot. I don’t party. I am pretty athletic, so anything athletic I’ll do. Tennis, racquetball, It could be anything any day of the week.
Does Christianity play a role in your life?
Yes. But I have never wanted to come off as a ‘holy roller’ trying to be somebody I am not. I definitely believe in God, and doing the right thing. I don’t want to get on the podium and preach about it, but I like to thank God. People ask me about my beliefs and stuff. I think at some point people they were expecting me to say something like I wanted to be a preacher one day or something. But it’s not about that. It’s about stability in your life, and knowing where you are going to go when it’s all said and done.
What would you be doing if you were not racing motocross?
Hard to say. I am really athletic and enjoy competition, and when I was young I was on the swim team for three years. Back then I had a choice to either swim or race motocross. Obviously I decided to race motocross. But I could have chosen to be swimming and possibly making my way to the Olympics.
The last few years I’ve been interested in becoming a paramedic or EMT. I don’t want to be a full-on Doctor but I want to know the basics and try to help people in need.
|Angela Hall interviewing Ezra
Where do you see yourself five years from know?
Probably in a small town, living a normal life. Once I am done racing I am not going to want to be competitive at anything anymore. Because I give it all I’ve got right now, and I can see when I am done racing I am not going to want to do that anymore. It takes a lot out of you really, physically, emotionally, being focused and concentrating on racing.
When we ride on race day that’s the easy part. But we ride each day of the week, and train each day of the week, and we actually have quite a schedule. It’s tough, from not getting sick, to keeping your composure, to satisfying each vendor and advertiser for the team. I want to try to always be in a good mood with everyone, and not be bummed out when doing things such as autograph signings. There’s much more to it than that too. From the time you get to the track to the time you leave you are on your best behavior. When doing autographs I always try to make eye contact with people. If it wasn’t for the fans, we’d all be nothing.
Can you tell me your thoughts about 2002 and your first season on Kawasaki?
I stayed healthy. It was probably one of the healthiest seasons I had in a long time, so I am happy about that. But then again I didn’t really take the chances I normally take. Hanging it out here and there, riding aggressive here and there. We’ll see if that can change in 2003.
I think I really wanted to have a good, but conservative year. I wanted to get a good year under my belt. Strengthen my body and get back into the mood to racing every single weekend. And that’s what I did. But now I think I am going to go out and race with a little bit different attitude and be a little more aggressive.
What do you want people to know about you Ezra Lusk?
I probably come off a little quiet to everybody, and really conservative. That’s my mood most of the time, but I really enjoy what I am doing. I wouldn’t be doing this as long as I have if I didn’t enjoy it. A lot of people might not think that because I’ve always got a serious look on my face. (laughs)
I enjoy racing motorcycles, and I take my job seriously. I hate to consider it a job, but it sometimes gets to be a job because we have a lot of serious stuff to do. Racing motorcycles is my pressure release from everyday life really. It’s what I enjoy to do. If something goes wrong then I like to go ride.
What was your fondest memory in racing so far?
Whenever I was racing against Jeremy McGrath, looking back on it now. I had a lot of fun racing with Jeremy. Even though we were really competitive with each other, and sometimes because of the pressures had a sour attitude towards each other, it was fun and I enjoyed it. It would be kind of cool to do that again one day, but we have both gone different ways the past couple of years. That was probably the funnest time I’ve had my whole career, for sure – racing against Jeremy.
I really want to thank the fans who have stuck by me. I really got well known early in the ’98 season when I was real aggressive and racing against Jeremy. Ever since then the fans have stuck by me even when I wasn’t doing that good. And the other things is that I’m not going to give up because I am entering this season with a different attitude.