Adam Cianciarulo: Little Man, Big Future
If you’ve ever wondered about Adam Cianciarulo’s last name, it’s pronounced “sin-sa-rillo” – we should all get to know that name because we’re going to be saying it a lot in the future. The Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider is without a doubt one of the next big things currently working his way through the amateur ranks. The 12-year-old has the makings of a champion not only on the track, but off the track as well. With his sharp wit and an outgoing personality Cianciarulo showed in Las Vegas that he knows how to put on a show, and also how to keep things fun – something which will be necessary in the long race career ahead of him.Cianciarulo was a hit at the Grand Garden Arena not only because he won Friday night’s Alpinestars 85cc Mini Invitational, and was the first 85 to clear the finish line jump, but because he promptly dropped his bike and did a dance for the crowd after crossing the finish line.
How was your night tonight?
It was really good. I got a really good start. I got a pretty good jump – kinda bogged a little bit. And I guess Chris Alldredge kinda wheelied and came over into me and we kinda hit on the start. I ended up getting him, though, in the first corner. I just tried to stay tucked around the inside Keith Tucker got around me in the rhythm section because he was carrying more speed on the outside. I ended up getting him in the next corner and just riding a smooth race from there. I just tried to pull away in the first couple of laps and just have fun.
The crowd really went nuts when you guys were clearing the finish line jump. Did you plan to do that?
I thought I could make it in practice if there wasn’t so many ruts in the corner and [during the race] there wasn’t so I kinda wanted to do it the first lap but I didn’t get the chance. So the second lap [I did it]. It was really cool.
It’s nothing like amateur stuff when the crowd goes crazy like that. I’ve never raced indoors with a lot of people like that, so that was really cool.
If you really want to hear them go crazy, take someone out.
[laughs] Nah, I keep it clean.
Tell me about your season this year.
It’s been pretty good. It’s been up and down. It’s my first year in the 12-13 class, so a lot of fast, older kids. I ended up getting both titles at Loretta’s and three at Ponca and I just feel like I’ve been progressing every race and learning from the other guys every other race and me and my dad have been training back home really hard and trying to have fun with it.
How do you go about preparing for an indoor race like this?
It’s a lot different. You can’t really prepare for something like this. It’s something you just have to do. In practice it was kinda weird and now I’m kinda used to it, I guess you could say. I’m looking forward to the next moto.
In a way, you guys are the gnarliest ones out there because you’re really wringing those 85’s out to huck them out of corners.
Yeah, definitely. We’re definitely getting everything we can out of the bikes. Everybody’s pushing really hard and everybody’s going really fast so it keeps it exciting.
Who do you think is going to win the main event tonight?
Hansen’s looking really fast. I’ve been riding with him, Villopoto, Stewart, I don’t know, Millsaps? It’s going to be good.
You got any money on anyone?
No. I don’t bet too much. [lauhgs]
Ezra Lusk: Back in the Saddle
Back in the spotlight for his first AMA Pro race in over five years, Ezra Lusk returned to the pro ranks aboard an Entity Motorsports Inc/MB1 Suspension Suzuki RM-Z450 to line up with the best.
We caught up with “Yobi” twice over the weekend, once before Saturday’s race and again after. He talked about what he’s been up to, what it’s like to be back in the sport, and dealing with the learning curve at his first race back.
How long has it been now?
It’s been five years. My last race was Washougal, ’04. An outdoor national. It’s been a while!
What have you been up to in the meantime?
I’ve really done a whole bunch of everything. I played a good bit of tennis. One of my friends has a big farming operation I ran some tractors, pulled some peanut wagons. Just a little bit of everything, but most importantly, trying to raise two kids.
So it has to be a bit of culture shock, stepping back into racing at this point.
Yesterday was pretty tough. It was definitely culture shock. I really didn’t know what to think; I didn’t know how to approach it. All the years of experience just kinda got thrown out the window yesterday. I was really overwhelmed by the situation. Today I jumped out a lot better – a lot looser – and felt like I was here to race a motorcycle.
Is this your first race on a four-stroke?
Well, I did Washougal in ’04 on a 450 four-stroke for Mach-1 Yamaha. But this is my first indoor race [on a four-stroke], yes.
So the bikes have changed, faces have changed, protection has changed… are the tracks different, too?
No, the tracks are the same. I watched them change ’em a little bit, but they’re basically the same.
The neck braces and protective equipment have gotten a lot better which is one of the factors of me coming back, too. Knowing that the chances of really being seriously injured is a lot less. The track crew, everybody’s doing a lot better job than they used to. Doctor Bodnar and the Asterisk Medical Crew is just an awesome thing to have.
So in your view, it’s a lot safer now.
I think so. I think everybody has got really a more serious approach to it. I really think AMA and the flaggers could maybe step it up a little bit more maybe and take the same flaggers race to race all year long, but other than that, everybody’s really done a great job. I’m really impressed with everything and I’m excited to be back.
What sparked your inspiration to come back?
Nothing really inspired me to come back for the U.S. Open. I initially thought of maybe doing a couple of Arenacrosses, maybe hitting a few outdoors. But the more and more I rode, the more interested I got in it. I started talking to more people about maybe doing all the Arenacrosses and then I started thinking about maybe doing more Supercrosses. What it really boiled down to is, “Why don’t you go to the US Open and we’ll see where you’re at, how you feel, if you want to do more, if you want to do Supercrosses and just go from there?” It’s really what happened.
Tell me about the Entity Motorsports Inc/MB1 team. Did this happen around you?
Basically, yeah. With the help of Mike Batista and MB1 Suspension. Chad [Ottenbreit] really wants to get a motocross/Supercross team going and this is kind of a way for him to get his feet wet and see about maybe putting a team together for next year. He’s really interested in doing that, also. But it’s really a trial run for me and him both, to see if I want to do it, and see if he really wants to do it. Whether I do it or not, I think he might be interested in going for it.
Fast forward to Saturday night after the race…
Not bad! That was a marked improvement over last night.
Yeah, big improvement. Getting into the main event, obviously, was the goal. The main event I just really… still butterflies. Really tough, really get going really tough to stay consistent and to keep trying to go fast. The moment was definitely a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be. Last night was really just horrendous and tonight wasn’t nearly as bad. But gosh, I think this place is even more nerve-wracking than a regular Supercross! It’s just so tough, the track is so tight, so small, everybody goes pretty fast. And it wasn’t like you just got into the main and cruised. You were working!
There were guys that were passing me, which isn’t good. I don’t like to go backwards. There was nothing I could really do. I was trying to survive, just keep it on two wheels, and give myself something to base it off of.
You had a decent battle with Tyler Bowers just before the finish.
Yeah, he was going good and I… wasn’t. I was kinda going backwards. I was trying not to be dirty with anybody that came up on me because there’s just no use. We’d made a couple good passes on each other. I think I was a little bit stronger there at the end even though I could hardly hang on!
As far as this weekend as a litmus test, do you have a feeling about what you want to do and what you need to work on?
Well, first and foremost is just more riding under my belt. The equipment we had this weekend maybe wasn’t the absolute best. It was basically a production-based Suzuki. There was not much work [done to it]. A little bit of help from Wiseco and a lot of help from Showa and MB1 with the suspension, and Suzuki. But basically a production bike. I’m pretty proud that we did as good as we did. I feel, and know, that I can do a lot better. At least get up there and give it a fair chance to duke it out with some of those guys.
James Stewart: A Few More Words…
The L&M Yamaha racer and overall winner of the U.S. Open had a few other things to say that didn’t make it into this week’s issue, such as an incident with lappers, and talking a little about his upcoming reality show.
On Friday night, it looked like you were having some trouble with lappers not heeding the blue flag.
Oh yeah. It’s always just a part of racing. It’s a lot more noticeable here and the track’s always tight. It is what it is. I think the AMA’s going to come out with a new rule. But like I always said, if a lapped rider knew he wasn’t going to lose a position when he was battling I think everybody would move out of the way. There were some guys that were good and some guys that wasn’t. But it’s part of racing and it’s what we do.
When you came up on Matt Boni, Michael Byrne and Jesse Casillas, who were all battling, it looked like it took you a while to get through.
Yeah, I got hung up. Davi [Millsaps] is actually riding pretty good so I didn’t want to lose too much time. It just sucks because the other guys are racing. Michael’s racing them and they end up letting up and Byrner ended up passing both of them. They were pissed off because they moved over and obeyed the flag and Byrner got them. It’s a thing that’s been a problem for years and I think they need to try to fix it. I’m sure they will.
Tell us a little about your reality TV show that was filmed this summer.
My TV show will be out next March. It was an honor to have my own reality show. It’s going to be on Fuel TV and it’s 10 episodes. It’s going to be kinda interesting to see what my real life is besides racing.
So it’s more of a lifestyle thing and not so much the racing end of it?
Yeah. I mean, it was about racing, but racing is a small part of the TV show. It was more about my life and how I am off the track – just having a good time, being a clown.