Two weeks ago, we reported that Steve Lamson had signed with team ECC for the 2003 season. We decided it was time to get his take on switching teams, and the new bike he will be riding in the coming race season. With newfound enthusiasm, the former National Champion answered the phone. Here’s what he had to say?
TransWorld Motocross: Are you stoked with your new ride for next year?
Steve Lamson: I am totally pumped on the deal. It is a good opportunity for me. I can ride 125cc supercross again, that’s a big deal for me to get back into that class next year. I want to try to win a championship for those guys at Escondido Cycle Center (ECC).
TWMX: They’re dangling a big carrot in front of you with that $1,000,000 bonus for winning a championship!
SL: Yeah that is quite a big carrot! I think that a 125cc championship is within my reach. I am going to give it everything I have.
TWMX: Is that huge bonus just for you, or is it for every rider on the team?
SL: It is definitely in my contract. I believe it is for everyone on the team as well.
TWMX: What made you sign with team ECC?
SL: I had been talking to Honda a little bit about trying to work something out for next year. Then, up at Hangtown, I talked to Mike Craig, the team manager for the team and Ron Ketchem the owner, about trying to work something out with them for next year. I was pumped to hear that they wanted me to ride the 125cc bike in supercross. Then, for a few weeks everything laid low. Next thing you know, Mike and I were on the phone again, he told me that they were still trying to hire one more guy to ride for their team. He said that they wanted me on their team for 2003. They have a crew at ECC that really wants to go racing, and get results. The fact that they were really pumped on me even considering to ride for them, made me want to sign even more. It excites me to see so much enthusiasm towards racing, and wanting to get results. They have already came through with a few things that they said they were going to do for me. It makes me feel like it is going to be a good relationship, working for people like that.
TWMX: With team ECC, do you get to chose any of your equipment, or gear you will be using next year?
SL: No, it’s a team thing, so they control all of that. I have my contact with them and they take care of everything else. It is actually a good thing for the team to have the same look and equipment. It gives everything a more uniform look, and that’s good for the sponsors.
TWMX: When I talked to Mike Craig a few weeks ago, he said that they were ecstatic that you signed with them.
SL: Yeah, I know. They were waiting at the fax machine when I was sending my contract back to them. Mike was calling me on the other line saying, “Did you send it back yet?” I said ” I’m sending it, I promise!” When they finally got it, Mike told me that the owner, Ron Ketchem was very exited.
TWMX: That has to be a great feeling, when people get that exited to work with you.
SL: It is a great feeling. I think it will be a good deal for both of us next year. It sounds like Suzuki is going to step in and help us out with some good equipment. From what I have seen, it seams like the Suzukis run good. The main thing I was concerned about, was the suspension. It’s so important to have good equipment when you get to a certain level. Mike told me that even Suzuki was pumped that I signed with the team. That made me feel even better.
TWMX: Is there any hard feelings leaving Team Husquvarna?
SL: It’s a bummer–leaving Husky. Those guys have been really good to me. I don’t think they are happy with what I am doing, but I had to make the move for myself. We helped each other out, but now it is time to move on.
TWMX: How is your leg feeling? Is it bothering you at all?
SL: It feels good now. Last weekend at Red Bud, was the best that I was able to ride since I broke it I can actually push it more than I have been able to in a long time. It is still a little bit sore, but nothing like it was at Glen Helen. I think I tried to come back a little early. I was struggling big time for a while, so I took a month off and let it rest some more. I am glad I did, I am getting to feel comfortable and strong again.
TWMX: How much longer do you feel you can compete?
SL: I want to race for a least a few more years. Getting back in the 125cc class, I think I can be more competitive and ride there for a few more years. I am going to take advantage of it. I don’t have any intention on retiring right now. If you look at professional athletes in other sports, they last well into their late 30’s. With the medical advances where they are, why shouldn’t MX pros last that long? You have to have the drive to want to do it–that’s the main thing.