PERFECT TIMING FOR LAMBERT
Robert Lambert believes his FIM Speedway Grand Prix break has come at the right time after admitting he wouldn’t have been ready in 2019.
16 / 01 / 2021, 12:43
Great Britain racer Robert Lambert believes his FIM Speedway Grand Prix break has come at the right time after admitting he wouldn’t have been ready for a wild-card pick two years ago.
Lambert won last season’s Speedway European Championship to secure automatic qualification for SGP 2021.
He got a taste of the action as first reserve in 2019, racing eight of the 10 rounds as a replacement for the absent Greg Hancock. Lambert reached semi-finals in Warsaw and Krsko as he underlined his huge potential.
I’m putting everything into it and focusing, and there’s no reason why I can’t get on to the podium or be in the top six.
Some felt he should have been offered a permanent wild card as early as 2019 after winning the British Championship, as well as SEC and World Under-21 bronze medals in 2018.
But Lambert is glad he waited to make his full-time SGP bow. He said: “I feel I am ready to go on to the GPs. In 2018, I was offered the chance to be first reserve for 2019 and I did pretty much all the meetings – apart from two due to injury.
“There was a lot of speculation going about, saying that I would be getting a permanent wild card for 2019. If that did happen and I had got that phone call, I would have turned it down. At that stage, I wasn’t ready.
“Two years later, I am in a better place mentally and physically as well. Things in my private life are sorted out and everything has changed.”
Lambert is determined to build on his SEC and PGE Ekstraliga experience as he prepares to take on the best riders in the world. He said: “I am feeling confident. I will approach it the same as I did the SEC and the Ekstraliga. I’m mostly racing against the same boys week in and week out.
“In terms of how I prepare, things are staying as normal. We are obviously putting more work and effort into machinery and stuff behind the scenes to make things look a bit more professional.
“I’m also giving a little extra with the fitness as well. That’s important. I did that last winter and it showed. We will just keep working away and working hard. Then the results will come.”
Only the top six riders are guaranteed automatic qualification for SGP 2022, but Lambert has a few other possible routes into the field.
He will be defending his European title; he seems likely to be one of GB’s nominated riders for the SGP qualifiers, or he could also receive a wild card from the SGP Commission if needed.
“That’s why there is no pressure on me at all,” he said. “There is always the opportunity to get back in there. Even if I did step out, it wouldn’t be the end of the world and it wouldn’t make me a bad rider at all.
“But I’m putting everything into it and focusing, and there’s no reason why I can’t get on to the podium or be in the top six.”