Norfolk star Robert Lambert shrugs off pain to help GB to World Cup triumph at King’s Lynn
- Credit: Ian Burt
Robert Lambert put injury behind him to help Great Britain clinch a World Cup final spot in Poland on Saturday.
The King's Lynn Stars rider, still feeling the effects of a bad crash the previous weekend, dropped only two points all night as the Lions produced a scintillating display in front of 5,000 fans at the Adrian Flux Arena.
Great Britain stormed to five wins in the opening five races and never looked back, securing first place with three races to spare.
Alun Rossiter's new-look side surrendered just seven points during the whole meeting to finish nine points clear of Australia in front of a partisan home crowd.
Captain Craig Cook set the tone in the first heat of the night as the hosts reeled off a string of race victories in style.
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Lambert's opening assignment of the night saw him come out on top of a ding-dong battle with his Stars' team-mate, Austalian Chris Holder.
Norfok's finest made it back-to-back victories in the next as the hosts put clear daylight between themselves and the Aussies who failed to cope with the loss of Jason Doyle to a foot injury before the showpiece.
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Holder, the 2012 world champion, ended Great Britain's winning streak in heat six before Batchelor gave Australia some hope by taking the next.
Cook and Holder exchanged race wins in the next two heats before the former added three more points to the Great Britain collection with a stunning ride in heat 10.
Trailing by seven points, the Aussies opted to use Holder as a tactical joker in Heat 11 and the move paid off as he got the better of Lambert.
But any hopes of an Aussie comeback were soon dispelled as the Lions reeled off six successive race wins. During the sequence, Cook delivered the best ride of the night when he totally blew the start in heat 15 but still managed to lower the colours of Holder.
Lambert's final ride in the penultimate race of the evening summed up the spirit and determination of the Great Britain camp.
The youngster looked set to be the first British rider not to finish the top two of a heat before passing Josef Franc with consummate ease – much to the delight of the home faithful.
Great Britain 53: Craig Cook 14, Robert Lambert 13, Chris Harris 13, Steve Worrall 13, Adam Ellis DNR.
Australia 44: Chris Holder 19, Troy Batchelor 12, Max Fricke 8, Nick Morris 5, Jason Doyle DNR.
USA 15: Gino Manzares 7, Ricky Wells 3, Dillon Ruml 2, Luke Becker 2, Broc Nicol 1.
Czech Republic 13: Vaclav Milik 6, Josef Franc 4, Hynek Stichaeur 3, Matej Kus 0, Eduard Krcmar 0.
Heat by heat
Heat 1: Cook, Batchelor, Stichauer, Wells (X). 59.37
Heat 2: Worrall, Manzares, Franc, Morris (FX). 58.96
Heat 3: Harris, Fricke, Franc, Milik. 59.62
Heat 4: Lambert, Holder, Becker, Kus. 59.44
Heat 5: Lambert, Manzares, Fricke, Krcmar. 59.75
Heat 6: Holder, Harris, Franc, Wells. 60.04
Heat 7: Batchelor, Worrall, Milik, Becker. 59.91
Heat 8: Cook, Morris, Nicol, Kus. 59.37
Heat 9: Holder, Worrall, Ruml, Stichauer (FX). 60.36
Heat 10: Cook, Fricke, Becker, Franc. 59.85
Heat 11: Holder (tactical joker), Lambert, Wells, Milik. 60.03
Heat 12: Harris, Batchelor, Manzares (tactical joker), Krcmar. 60.72
Heat 13: Lambert, Batchelor, Franc, Ruml. 59.98
Heat 14: Harris, Morris, Stichauer, Becker. 60.16
Heat 15: Cook, Holder, Milik, Manzares. 60.19
Heat 16: Worrall, Wells, Fricke, Kus. 60.32
Heat 17: Worrall, Fricke, Stichauer, Becker. 61.16
Heat 18: Holder, Harris, Manzares, Kus. 60.53
Heat 19: Batchelor, Lambert, Franc, Ruml. 61.38
Heat 20: Milik, Cook, Morris, Wells. 61.22