Yamaha's Chad Reed has put himself back into the AMA/World SX GP championship hunt by taking a shock first victory of the season on Saturday night in St Louis - while title rivals Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart both failed to score points.
Honda's Jacob Saylor won the Progressive Direct Holeshot Award to start the 20-lap main event, but was soon replaced by Suzuki's Ivan Tedesco - who shot into an early lead as Stewart and Carmichael - the only riders to win an AMA/World SXGP race this season - struggled with bad starts.
Stewart was held up in the first turn and found himself back in 12th place, but Carmichael's fate was much worse as a first turn crash damaged his Suzuki's suspension - forcing him to retire.
With Tedesco out front, and team-mate Carmichael out of the race, the attention now turned to Kawasaki rider Stewart, who had worked his way up to third behind Reed. Only a bike length separated each rider as Tedesco crossed the finish line to start lap 10 of 20, but on the following lap Reed slipped by Tedesco and took over the top spot.
Stewart's night took a turn for the worse a couple turns later when he spun out and crashed - but his biggest problem was that his machine then stalled. It took the #7 more than a minute to get his bike restarted, which, like Carmichael's, had suffered damage in the crash. The damaged motorcycle caused Stewart to finish the race, on sub-par equipment, in a disappointing 17th place.
Meanwhile, once out front, Reed cruised to the win while premier-class rookie Tedesco took his best ever finish of second, with Honda's Ernesto Fonseca third.
"Today I was horrible," said Reed, explaining his poor lap times during practice and the disappointing third place finish in the heat race. "I've had my head in my behind the whole season. I needed this as a confidence booster. Our whole team worked hard and I have to thank them for being patient."
"I felt really good for the first half of the race then I started riding really tight and making mistakes," added Tedesco after his first Supercross class podium. "But that's the only way to learn to win - to lead the race. Things really turned around for me a couple of races ago and I feel like I'm being more aggressive and riding more like myself."
However, the other side of the Suzuki garage was less elated after watching RC lose his AMA points lead to Reed, although he still heads the World SX GP standings by 1-point over Stewart, with Reed now just 2-points further back.