Cain Marsh confirmed himself as the best of British at the MX Master Kids in Commercy.
The Warblington racer, 10, returned to the site of his European triumph in 2011 determined to regain his crown.
A crash on the last lap of the final put paid to those ambitions.
But Marsh leapt back on his 65cc machine to finish ninth overall – and first of the British contingent.
While the dream of glory in France was gone in the blink of an eye, the Southbourne Junior School rider can take confidence from his display against rivals two years his senior.
Marsh was unable to ride on day two of the three-day meeting after winding himself in the qualification races.
Having already qualified for the gold final, doctors’ orders left him sidelined.
But when he returned for the main event, he proved his class – and was in the scrap for a podium place when he hit the deck.
Not that it has dampened the talent’s enthusiasm, though.
He is simply focusing on setting the record straight in 12 months time.