Following Tero Aarnio winning his first Finnish Championship, fellow former Newcastle Diamonds’ top man, Robert Lambert succeeded in Poland’s Torun stadium, on Wednesday night in lifting the prestigious European Speedway Championship gold medal after five cut and thrust rounds over the last month, his first and Britain’s first!
At the end of round three, Lambert had dipped in form and lost ground to Leon Madsen of Denmark, but recovered well in the fourth round to go into Wednesday’s final event three points ahead of Madsen, his only real threat with 20 heats and one vital final to go with the pair meeting in the opening race, and while Madsen led from the gate, Brit Lambert overhauled him on the opening bend, diving under Krzysztof Kasprzak going into bend three to lead. Madsen also passed the Pole to take two points, but Lambert was now one point further ahead.
In the second round of races Lambert and Madsen took a third placed point, but in the third round, Madsen won Heat 10 after a re-run well ahead of Nicki Pedersen (Denmark), Kai Huckenbeck (Germany), and Peter Leung (Sweeden) narrowing Lambert’s lead to one, but the British youngster found Heat 11 tough going and Finland’s Timo Lahti gated well with Lambert on his tale, only for Grigorij Laguta of Russia sailing round both of them relegating Lambert to third, which he just saved before the flag having exchanged places with last placed Mikkel Michelsen of Denmark, meaning Madsen was now only trailing by two.
With both riders having two rides left before the final, which they needed to qualify for, Madsen won the 14th race leaving Lambert no choice but to do the same in Heat 15, but it was Jesper Jensen (Denmark) who gated fast to lead, but ran a wide line off bend four which allowed Lambert and Huckenbech to whip through and three important points to the ex-Diamonds’ pot, keeping him in the lead by two points.
Madsen gated second in Heat 18 behind Michelsen, and that’s the way the heat ended before Lambert came out for his last race in Heat 19, making a brilliant gate to lead and win well ahead of Pole, Pawel Przedpelski, fellow Pole Kasper Woryna and Pedersen to go straight into the final, bypassing the last change race, which (while the points don’t count for the championship race) was won by Madsen to set up a grandstand finish to the five round championships, resting all on the final race of 105 heats over the month of July.
Lambert and Madsen lined up against Lahti and Huckenbeck with Lambert finishing no further behind Madsen than one place in order to seal his European Championship glory, but, focussed at the gate the young Brit’s determination shone through as he made the perfect gate to lead off bend one with Madsen chasing, however Lambert extended his lead throughout and too a famous victory for three points and seal his Championship finishing three points ahead of Madsen (67 to 64) with Laguta taking bronze on 52 points.