Getting Better With Ezra

After sitting out for just about an entire year of racing, twenty-six year old Georgian, Ezra Lusk, made his return to Supercross in what many would say was grand fashion. Finishing an unbelievable second overall in the opener at Edison Field in Anaheim, Ca earlier this year – Yogi showed his critics, and there are many, that he does indeed still have the talent to run up front and win some races. Lusk finished out the season fifth in points and walked away with an abundence of confidence to carry into the next Supercross season.

But first, he must endure a long and grueling outdoor tour on the National circuit complete with long, hard motos and sometimes, unfavorable elements like the heat at Hangtown, the sand at Southwick, or the humidity at Broome Tioga. All of this will come into play for the native Georgian as he works his way back to better his game. Lusk has the talent for sure, but to put it all together for sixteen races is something he has to work on. Nobody knows that better than Ezra himself.

DS: I for one was really happy to see you back in Supercross this year. You looked really good. Coming back after a year off and riding as well as you did surprised a lot of people – how did you do it?

Ezra: A lot of hard work and a lot of desire. I just really tried to keep a positive attitude while I was out. People keep saying, man you just have so much bad luck – if you don’t have any luck at all then I guess it would be different. I’m just trying to turn all of the bad luck I have had into good, positive luck. Sooner or later, if you keep shrugging it off it’s got to stay away from you.

DS: Has bad luck always seemed to follow your racing?

Ezra: I’ve had my fair share of good luck before – I have just had bad luck here and there but I’m just going to keep shrugging it off.

DS: It was amazing that you showed that kind of speed after being away from Supercross for that long – did you expect to be able to run up front so soon?

Ezra: I pretty much expected exactly what happened. I didn’t expect to go into the very first round and get second place, I wasn’t ready for that, I wasn’t focusing on that, and I definitely wasn’t shooting for the podium at the first round! I wanted to build, I wanted to build up all year – I wanted to take my results, practice each week and try to work on everything that I was having problems with.

DS: What problems were you dealing with upon your return to racing?

Ezra: I think for me it was more of being very rusty mentally. It was really hard for me to focus for twenty laps – I felt like I was in really great shape but, I feel like the best guy in the world physically would not have been able to do any better than what I did. After a little while I finally figured it out and got back in the groove, I was able to actually I think at one point, be the fastest guy on the track. It was pretty tough to do considering Ricky was pickin’ up the pace as much as he did this year.

DS: Do you think he caught everyone off-guard this year?

Ezra: He didn’t catch me off guard. I didn’t picture myself being any faster than I had in the previous years – I pictured myself being slower. I knew there would be a lot of guys out there going faster than me and I didn’t put myself in their mode at all you know? It wasn’t until the last three or four races of the season that I actually considered myself one of the guys that could win the race. I think it really helped me out a lot mentally not doing that (getting in the mode). I felt that when I got myself ready, when I got myself up to the point where I thought that I could win the race – that’s when I started focusing on the things that I had to do to win the race. Up to that point I just did everything that I could do to make myself comfortable on the bike and keep myself healthy, until I got my speed back.

DS: Did you have the stamina week in and week out to do twenty Supercoss laps or did you have to work up to that?

Ezra: Yeah, felt like my stamina was there all season long but like I said earlier, it was really tough to actually make the twenty laps, stay focused, and put it all together. I faded a couple of races and just got tired a couple of races – it was just tough.

DS: How did you prepare yourself for Supercross – did you do a lot of riding before the season began?

Ezra: I rode out in California during the whole off-season, I wasn’t able to go back east to ride like I normally do in the tackier soil and ride with my buddy Ricky – I wasn’t able to do that like I normally do. I really was not prepared when the season began but, now I’ve got everything situated out – I have a new house out in Atlanta, a new track and now I’m totally prepared for the next Supercross season. I think I’ll be able to come out swinging – I’ll be on top of my game for sure with a lot more experience than I’ve ever had.

DS: Did the time off do you any good mentally? Did it give you a chance to step away for a bit and reconfigure your program at all?

Ezra: Yeah for sure. But I think things happened differently once I started racing again. I handled things a lot differently but I think it was more of my personal life that changed, like getting married. I think that was more of a turning point for me, a maturity point. That just kind of helped me handle things differently. It was a big plus for me – I was able to focus more on what I was doing and keep all of the distractions out of the tent.

DS: When did you get married?

Ezra: September sixteenth of last year.

DS: At what point in Supercross do you feel it all began to click again for you, when you felt you might be back up to speed?

Ezra: Well, I think all year long I had spurts, I’d go out and think, man, I feel really fast in the heat race or parts of the main event, but things just didn’t go completely the same way all night long – I wasn’t consistently there. I think it wasn’t until probably Pontiac where going into that race I was really focused. I was focused all year long, but things just started to click a little better for me there, and I was actually able to go out and ride twenty laps as hard as I could and stay really fast. I matched all of Ricky’s lap times and actually closed on him a little bit half way through the race. I think that’s really where it started coming together for me.

DS: Did you achieve the goals you set for yourself for Supercross?

Ezra: I think it’s good to achieve goals and to set goals for yourself, but this year I would have to say that I didn’t set any goals for myself. I guess if I did set any goals, it would be to stay healthy and to get back to where I was as far as speed and racing goes, and to be happy with the series when it was all over with. I probably should have set a goal to be in the top three or win a certain number of races or something, but I just wanted to keep it basic and take small steps coming back because I did miss a full year.

DS: Are you happy with they way it all turned out?

Ezra: Oh yeah – I’m happy.

DS: Moving on to the Nationals – are you ready?

Ezra: Yeah, I’m ready. I bruised some ribs a week ago and that has kind of set me back a little bit for this weekend. I don’t know if my strength will all be there for this race (Glen Helen), but I know my speed is good. I’m just going to go out and have fun this weekend. I want to start up front with those guys and finish up on the podium. I still think I’ll be able to do that even though I’m not a hundred percent for this race. If I can get podium for this weekend and get good results next weekend in Hangtown – which has never really been one of my favorite tracks – and then head back east to Mount Morris and Southwick, I’ll try to get some moto wins and get it all together back there.

DS: What’s it going to take for you to hunt down Carmichael and take the title from him?

Ezra: I think a lot of hard work. I know how much work and dedication he puts into it, but I think being smart, being there every race and being there up front, starting with him – you have to start with him and race with him to beat him. If I let him get the starts and get away from me, then it will be tougher than ever.

DS: You guys just wrapped up the last round of the Supercross series last weekend in Las Vegas and now, here you are the very next weekend at the opener for the outdoor season. How tough is that on you?

Ezra: We get breaks, but for me, I’m not even close to being burnt out at this point because I missed almost the entire season last year so, I’m ready to race. I wasn’t ready to see the Supercross series end – I was just getting into that groove and getting everything back together. It’s like starting all over for me again you know? Trying to learn all of the new curves again, learning the outdoors all over again.

DS: What are you expecting of yourself for the Nationals?

Ezra: I have set goals for every weekend, I’m looking at the big picture but I want to be prepared for every race, I want to be on the podium at every race, that’s my goal – to podium every weekend.

DS: Do you have what it takes right now to win the Championship?

Ezra: I believe that I have the consistency, the focus and the mental preparedness for sure. I just have to be able to put the speed and everything that goes with it every weekend – just put it all together – I think I learned all of that over the last few Supercross races. I think being smart, being there every race and being there up front, starting with him – you have to start with him and race with him to beat him. If I let him get the starts and get away from me, then it will be tougher than ever.

DS: You guys just wrapped up the last round of the Supercross series last weekend in Las Vegas and now, here you are the very next weekend at the opener for the outdoor season. How tough is that on you?

Ezra: We get breaks, but for me, I’m not even close to being burnt out at this point because I missed almost the entire season last year so, I’m ready to race. I wasn’t ready to see the Supercross series end – I was just getting into that groove and getting everything back together. It’s like starting all over for me again you know? Trying to learn all of the new curves again, learning the outdoors all over again.

DS: What are you expecting of yourself for the Nationals?

Ezra: I have set goals for every weekend, I’m looking at the big picture but I want to be prepared for every race, I want to be on the podium at every race, that’s my goal – to podium every weekend.

DS: Do you have what it takes right now to win the Championship?

Ezra: I believe that I have the consistency, the focus and the mental preparedness for sure. I just have to be able to put the speed and everything that goes with it every weekend – just put it all together – I think I learned all of that over the last few Supercross races.