James Stewart looked poised to win the season-opening supercross race at Angel Stadium until he went flying off his motorcycle in a crash.
But the two-time champion said he's put the wreck behind him and remains confident as the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series heads to Phoenix for its second race Saturday night.
"I felt like this was the best I've been riding in years and this was the best I've felt on a motorcycle in years," Stewart, 28, said in a statement after his 17th-place finish Saturday night in Anaheim.
Supercross is the stadium version of outdoor motorcycle racing, or motocross. The series places hundreds of truckloads of dirt over the stadium infield to create a hilly race course.
Rookie Ken Roczen of Murrieta was leading with four laps left in the 20-lap main event at Angel Stadium when Stewart came up beside him. But as they raced into a section of the track with a series of small jumps -- known as the "whoops" -- Stewart lost control of his Suzuki and crashed.
"I went to make a pass in the whoops -- they'd been taking people out all night -- and I kind of got caught out," Stewart said.
Roczen went on to win on his KTM bike, followed by three other former champions: Ryan Dungey, Chad Reed and reigning title holder Ryan Villopoto, who's attempting to win his fourth consecutive supercross championship this season.
After the Phoenix race, the series returns to Angel Stadium on Jan. 18, then moves to Oakland on Jan. 25 and returns one more time to Anaheim on Feb. 1.
ALSO:Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times