Photo gallery: Family fuel the fire of teen sensation Robert Lambert’s speedway progress
17:45 01 March 2014
Archant © 2014
From the moment their son ripped off the restrictor on his motorbike in order to go faster – aged just three – Helen and Paul knew they were in for something special.
Team-mate stunned at first sighting of star
Experienced Aussie Rory Schlein admits he couldn’t believe his eyes the first time he came across Norfolk’s latest rising sports star.
The 29-year-old, who has competed in Britain since 2001, hadn’t heard of Robert Lambert until he faced him in 2012. But the then 14-year-old’s performance on that day in Germany ensured his future King’s Lynn team-mate has never forgotten him since.
Schlein, pictured below, said: “I didn’t know who he was but Eddie Kennett said he’d been told Robert was rapid. I actually asked ‘is he allowed to ride?’ because he was so young. I was even more surprised when Robert showed me the way around and beat me. It was a surprise for someone that young to have that much confidence and talent on a bike and to do it in a competitive situation too.”
The Down Under ace will call Lambert a colleague when he turns 16 and remains confident that the youngster will go on to enjoy a great career.
Schlein added: “He’s bordering on the same bracket of talent and potential as riders like Darcy Ward. Some burst onto the scene, everyone ends up raving about them, and you never hear about them again. But Robert’s got his family behind him, which is a big plus, and if he keeps progressing the way he is and remains level-headed then I can only see his career going forward.”
Three years later Lambert junior, whose dad used to ride for Mildenhall and was a keen cycle speedway racer, started competing in grasstrack competition. Aged nine, Robert, was climbing aboard his first one-gear bike that has gone on to become his professional career.
Mrs Lambert said: “When he first started grasstracking he looked comfortable on a bike. He had no fear. All he knew was one thing, full throttle, flat out, which was a bit shocking to start with. But we’ve grown with that and progressed with that. He’s never been pressurised though and if he wanted to give up tomorrow, that would be up to him. We’re just here to support him as we’re always proud of him.”
The Lamberts – who have been married for 25 years and run their own building construction firm – have been the rock upon which their only child’s success has been built. After obtaining a 500cc licence (the size of a speedway bike’s engine) so he could ride in Germany aged 14 – a year earlier than he could in England - they’ve driven him across Europe countless times and spent thousands of pounds to help aid his progress. They’ll do similar journeys this year with the 15-year-old landing team slots at King’s Lynn in England, Outrup in Denmark and Berghaupton in Germany. But the Lamberts are now desperately seeking financial support to help fund Robert’s career.
On race nights Paul is one of his mechanics and Helen gets her hands dirty in the pits by filling up his machine with methanol and, among other things, filming every race he has ever competed in. The ‘Team Lambert’ ethos is at the heart of what Robert does – proved by his covers containing the words nan (Barbara ‘Jean’ Lambert) and grandad, written in honour of the late Eddie Lambert who bought his first bike and described his grandchild as a “young Nicki Pedersen”. Inside that inner circle is Robert’s manager Rene Schafer, a German who has been described as “vital” to the family’s success so far. But Paul remains keen to emphasise his lad still has a lot to do to earn even bigger glory.
Mr Lambert (senior) said: “I think we’ve got to guard him, keep a low profile, take the pressure off of him and hopefully that will reflect in his racing. It’s good to see nice things being said about him, but he’s got a long way to go and a lot of hard work to put in. We’ve just got to keep him going along, keep his feet firmly on the floor, and keep him progressing slowly.”
- Visit www.edp24.co.uk/wnsp to listen to a West Norfolk Sports Podcast special on Robert Lambert.
- A video from our in-depth interview will be online on Monday.
- Click on the related links to read more stories on the Stars – and Lambert
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