Peterborough Panthers whizzkid Robert Lambert came within a whisker of being crowned British Under 21 champion last night (April 14).
The 17 year-old sensation reeled off five successive victories in the qualifying heats of his first national final at Coventry.
But he was passed by former Bees rider Kyle Howarth on the opening lap of a re-run Grand Final as he had to settle for second spot on the podium.
“Robert was untouchable throughout the qualifying heats,” said Panthers promoter Ged Rathbone.
“He made the slightest of mistakes in the final and Kyle nipped through the smallest of gaps. Robert didn’t have chance to get back at him as the dirt was so far out on the track by that point.
“He can be hugely proud of his performance and everyone at Peterborough Speedway is delighted to see him on the rostrum.
“He has plenty more opportunities to get himself onto the top step and I’ve got no doubt he will do that if he continues to progress.
“Put it this way, it will take a very special rider to stop him in the coming years.”
Fellow Readypower Panthers rider Ollie Greenwood suffered a night of frustration.
He reeled off a hat-trick of second places to leave himself on course for qualification to the latter stages before twice hitting the deck.
Greenwood was excluded after three riders came down in the opening corner of heat 16 and suffered the same fate after a tangle with eventual winner Howarth in heat 20.
Club asset Danny Phillips scored two points from his five rides. They arrived courtesy of a second place in heat 14 after he had earlier taken a couple of tumbles.
BRITISH UNDER-21 FINAL at Coventry:
QUALIFYING SCORES: Robert Lambert 15, Kyle Howarth 14, Ashley Morris 12, Max Clegg 12, Stefan Nielsen 11, James Shanes 9, Josh Bates 8, Marc Owen 7, Ben Morley 7, Oliver Greenwood 6, Connor Coles 5, Tom Stokes 5, Connor Mountain 4, Danny Phillips 2, Josh Bailey 2, Ryan Terry-Daley 1, Danny Verge (reserve) 0.
SEMI-FINAL: Morris, Nielsen, Shanes, Clegg (fell/exc).
GRAND FINAL: Howarth, Lambert, Nielsen, Morris (fell/exc)