Photo gallery: Hot King’s Lynn Stars prospect Robert Lambert is geared up for Elite League bow
18:00 01 March 2014
Archant © 2014
When you see Robert Lambert competing fearlessly among a sport packed with brave men you often forget just how young he actually is.
‘My hero taught me to be ruthless’
It’s hardly a surprise that a rider whose nickname is Ruthless cites Nicki Pedersen as his speedway hero.
The three-time world champion and treble World Cup winner with Denmark, pictured right, is known as one of the hardest riders on the planet. But his no-holds-barred style of racing has often left him feeling the wrath of his fellow competitors as well as the sport’s fans during what continues to be a hugely successful career.
Despite often playing the role of the pantomime villain, the 36-year-old Dane and former King’s Lynn superstar, can always count on the support of one other slider though. And that person is Robert Lambert.
The teenager, when asked who he looks up to, said: “A few people will probably disagree with me on this one, but it’s my opinion, it’s Nicki Pedersen.
“Everyone think’s he’s ruthless and that but that’s how you’ve got to be with speedway. Maybe sometimes he’s a bit over the top but you’ve got to look up at people like him and take the good points from him and push away the negative points that he brings into the sport as well.
“He’s one of my main idols for speedway and I’m not really sure with heroes in other sports – I only really focus on speedway.”
The Stars rider will once again proudly display the Ruthless tag on his seat for the forthcoming campaign. It is a slogan that has stuck with him ever since he was described as unrelenting while riding his bicycle forcefully around his parents’ yard as a child.
Having always possessed such a driven mentality – and admiration of Pedersen – it’s not really a shock that people expect the high school pupil will be able to survive in the cut-throat world of British speedway’s top-flight.
For while he rides on a 500cc motorbike, with no brakes, that can reach speeds of 70mph on speedway’s shale let’s remember he can not even legally ride a 50cc moped on Britain’s roads. And while he looks every inch an adult with his mature performances on the track, it’s only when you sit a table’s width away from the talented teenager that you realise he is only a very young man.
That said, even though his baby face is still adorned with what can be affectionately described as bumfluff, Lambert’s mind is every inch as razor-sharp as the stubble-faced riders he locks horns with once the tapes come up.
The 15-year-old, who turns 16 on April 5 and then will be eligible to make his Elite League debut, spends much of his life with teenagers at Reepham High School. However, the Norfolk starlet admits he will feel more than at home when he enters a world which belongs to some of sport’s toughest adults.
Lambert said: “I’ve been brought up around adults and business. It’s no new thing to me. I feel ready for it, capable I can do it, and I’ve just got to take the good points off other riders and how they help me. I’ve been brought up around bikes with no brakes so it’s natural to me just to jump on a bike and think nothing of it.”
When he’s not feeling at home at King’s Lynn Stars’ Norfolk Arena, Lambert feels most comfortable on his family farm in Foulsham, near Fakenham. Feeding the cows and cutting the grass have helped instill the work ethic which sees him spend hours tinkering with his machinery and keeping fit in the gym.
A recent skiing holiday helped replace the adrenaline that can be missing during the off-season. But the level-headed rider knows he must focus on his schoolwork, rather than seeking exciting kicks, to help him succeed off the track for a different type of challenge, his GCSE exams, in a few months.
“It is hard to concentrate sometimes but the school is very helpful with what they’re doing with me to let me have time off for speedway,” said Lambert.
“I’ve got to put in the time for my GCSEs because it’s where I’ve got to have something to fall back on if anything does go wrong, like the teachers keep telling me. I’ve got to focus on my GCSEs and try and separate speedway from my school.”
Success in Germany and England’s National League during the last couple of years have raised expectations that Lambert could become one of Lynn’s all-time greats, like the supremely talented – but troubled – 1980 world champion Michael Lee.
The teenager, who is keen to dampen such lofty expectations, said: “I want to go out there and do my best and not put too much pressure on myself.
“People can hype me up as much as they like but I take it under my wing. I’m very laid back. I want to be world champion but I don’t like talking about it all the time. I’m just another rider coming through who is wanting to race and do well.”
Is Lambert destined to be a genuine star of the future? E-mail your views to firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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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