TEAM PLAYER LAMBERT EYES FIM SPEEDWAY OF NATIONS GLORY
Great Britain racer Robert Lambert is ready to do whatever it takes to land FIM Speedway of Nations gold – even if it means him sitting on the sidelines for some of Lions’ heats.
The FIM SON world champions launch their title defence in Semi-Final 2 at Vojens Speedway Center tonight, racing Sweden, France, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia and tournament newcomers Norway, with fellow 2021 gold medallists Tai Woffinden and Dan Bewley joining Lambert in the side.
The top three nations earn the right to face hosts Denmark, plus Semi-Final 1 qualifiers Australia, Finland and Poland in Saturday’s FIM SON Final for the sport’s world team championship.
Joint GB boss Simon Stead has hinted in the media that he will shuffle his pack for the Semi-Final, rotating his riders and pairings to give the Brits time to adjust to track conditions and assess the team’s options for the Final, should they seal qualification.
It’s a strategy Lambert supports as the team bids to follow up their first world title win in 32 years at the 2021 FIM SON Final in Manchester last October.
He said: “The Semi-Final is an opportunity to be able to switch things around. We don’t want a rider who hasn’t raced the track coming in just for the Final – if we get through obviously. I think rotating us a good tactic early on.
“It’s a team event. If I can play my role in some way, whether that’s sitting on the sidelines or being out on the track, we come together as a team to succeed as a team. That’s the strategy and motto and we stick to that.”
GB skipper Tai Woffinden had a cunning plan to give the Brits the edge over their FIM SON competition by joining Danish club Esbjerg, the venue which was originally due to host the tournament this week.
While the move to Vojens has nullified Woffy’s inside knowledge, he is no stranger to Vojens, having raced Speedway GP rounds there and made his GB debut in the 2008 FIM Speedway World Cup Race Off at the venue.
Lambert also competed in the 2015 FIM SWC Race Off at Vojens and is confident the Lions can adapt quickly. He said: “Obviously Tai had a good plan and it was a very good idea. But things can change at the last minute and they have, so we will take it as it is.
“The move isn’t a disadvantage to us. I have been to Vojens a few times now and more recently than I have been to Esbjerg. That could play to our advantage more if anything. I don’t think Dan has been to Vojens, but we are still confident and feeling good about the event coming up.
“I have been there a few times. I had a few races there in the SWC and I have had a couple of Grand Prix rounds there. I have a bit of experience of the track – probably more than I have of Esbjerg, so it’s not a bad thing that it has changed venues. I am looking forward to racing there.”
Lambert admits his side goes into the FIM SON with a different mindset, having clinched Britain’s first world title since 1989 last year.
He said: “It was the first time in 32 years we had won anything with Team GB, so it was a massive achievement. Now we go on to defend it and the strategy is a little bit different.
“We are focused on the gold probably a little bit more than we were last year. But at the same time, we are trying to be humble about it. We still have one meeting before the Final and anything can happen on the day. We are just focused on every step along the way to get where we want to be.
“The build-up is looking good. We just need to be confident together, enjoy what we are doing and take in the atmosphere at the same time. We don’t want to get locked into that situation where we want success too badly. When we do that, things can go wrong and play against us. We just want to be relaxed, do our jobs and take it step by step.”