Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe's Julien Lieber was forced out of the 37th Enduropale Du Touquet on Sunday after colliding with a lapped rider and damaging his engine oil reservoir.
The 18 year old - who won the 2012 Junior race at the northern French town of Le Touquet - was in the top-ten of the 1100-rider race, aboard the RM-Z450 used by Steve Ramon for his 2011 victory; and then by Tanel Leok, who finished second at last year's event.
Lieber initially led the three-hour race briefly and was eighth after the opening 16.8km lap. He then moved to fourth and then third position before his pit stop just before the fourth lap, when the incident happened. Lieber was unaware of the damage caused in the crash and remounted only to lock-up five minutes later after all the oil had drained away.
"I had a good start and the bike was amazing, but couldn't avoid colliding with a lapped rider. I restarted and shortly after that, I could hear that the bike wasn't running like it did before and ultimately it stopped. I think the footpeg of the other bike might have touched the oil carter and broke. It's a shame, but it's part of racing. It was a good experience and hope we can try again next year!"
Lieber will now switch back to his Suzuki RM-Z250 to get ready for the upcoming GP-season that starts next month in Qatar. Part of his preparation is also the International Motocross race at Hawkstone Park in the UK this coming weekend.
Time and Tide
Last year's winner Jean-Claude Mousse (Yamaha) ultimately took the win after an eventful end to the race, with a lot of confusion when race direction stopped the race after two hours due to a high tide encroaching on the circuit.
Info from Team Suzuki Press office