EUROPEAN CHAMP LAMBERT INTO SGP 2021
New European champion Robert Lambert hailed the “incredible feeling” of booking his place in the 2021 FIM Speedway Grand Prix series.
29 / 07 / 2020, 20:08
Great Britain racer Robert Lambert hailed the “incredible feeling” of booking his place in the 2021 FIM Speedway Grand Prix series after lifting the Speedway European Championship in Torun tonight.
The Norfolk-born racer bounced back from two third places to win his last two heats and advance automatically to the final on 11 points – forcing title rival Leon Madsen into the last-chance semi on countback.
To have two third places and be able to bounce back like this is incredible – something I wouldn’t have been able to do last year. It just shows how I have progressed.
Lambert then produced the start of his life in the final to roar clear when it mattered most as the Lions hero become the first rider to qualify for SGP 2021.
The 22-year-old is the first Brit to win the sport’s European Championship and the first rider to benefit from the new rule, guaranteeing the continental champion a place in the SGP World Championship the following year.
The elated Rybnik star said: “It’s incredible. It’s unbelievable. It has been a long road getting here.
“To have two third places and be able to bounce back like this is incredible – something I wouldn’t have been able to do last year. It just shows how I have progressed and it’s such an incredible feeling. I am so proud. It is amazing.
“I am just so happy. All the people who are watching at home in Britain where there’s no racing are so happy for me, especially my parents. It’s awesome.
“It has taken a lot to get into this position. It was tough, but this feels so good. There are a lot of emotions.”
Madsen – unbeaten with a 21-point maximum at last year’s Torun SGP – finished second on the night and second in the championship after pushing Lambert all the way for gold.
The series runner-up finished his first five rides on 11 points, but Lambert’s three race wins saw him join German star Kai Huckenbeck, who topped the heat scorechart on 12, in the final on countback.
Madsen won the semi convincingly ahead of Timo Lahti, Nicki Pedersen and Bartosz Smektala, but despite fighting his way past Lahti and Huckenbeck for second in the final, Lambert cleared off for a famous win in a race where the Brit knew the pressure was on.
The King’s Lynn star said: “Me and Madsen were on the same points on the night, so I knew I needed to go out and get the win.
“He was on fire all night and I have to give him his due – he pushed me all the way. I knew if I got across Kai, I could get to that fast line and if I didn’t make any mistakes, it would all be under control.”
Russian racer Grigorii Laguta joined Lambert and Madsen on the podium after sealing third overall. They qualify for next season’s SEC series along with Mikkel Michelsen, who was fourth.
Poland’s Bartosz Smektala won a run-off with triple world champion Nicki Pedersen for the fifth and final automatic qualification place for the 2021 SEC competition.
SEC STANDINGS: 1 Robert Lambert 67, 2 Leon Madsen 64, 3 Grigorii Laguta 52, 4 Mikkel Michelsen 46, 5 Bartosz Smektala 45+3, 6 Nicki Pedersen 45+2, 7 Timo Lahti 43, 8 Kacper Woryna 33, 9 David Bellego 31, 10 Vaclav Milik 26, 11 Kai Huckenbeck 25, 12 Krzysztof Kasprzak 25, 13 Bartosz Zmarzlik 25, 14 Peter Ljung 23, 15 Michael Jepsen Jensen 22, 16 Andrei Kudriashov 21, 17 Emil Sayfutdinov 14, 18 Pawel Przedpelski 10, 19 Patryk Dudek 8, 20 Oskar Fajfer 3, 21 Igor Kopec-Sobczynski 1, 22 Norbert Krakowiak 1.
TORUN SCORES: 1 Robert Lambert 14, 2 Leon Madsen 13, 3 Timo Lahti 11, 4 Kai Huckenbeck 12, 5 Nicki Pedersen 10, 6 Bartosz Smektala 10, 7 Pawel Przedpelski 10, 8 Kacper Woryna 9, 9 Mikkel Michelsen 8, 10 Grigorii Laguta 8, 11 Krzysztof Kasprzak 5, 12 Peter Ljung 5, 13 Michael Jepsen Jensen 4, 14 Vaclav Milik 3, 15 David Bellego 3, 16 Norbert Krakowiak 3, 17 Andrei Kudriashov 0, 18 Igor Kopec-Sobczynski 0.
Semi-Final: Madsen, Lahti, Pedersen, Smektala.
Final: Lambert, Madsen, Lahti, Huckenbeck.
Run-Off for Fifth Place: Smektala, Pedersen.
Photo: Taylor Lanning