Lambert tells critics they're welcome to come and have a go
Panthers skipper Simon Lambert celebrated a return to form - then issued a cheeky challenge to his critics.
Lambert recorded two race wins in a 7+1 performance as the city side beat Berwick 47-43 in their final home meeting of the regular SGB Championship season last Saturday.
The 29 year-old, back down at reserve after a tough spell lately which featured blanks in away meetings at Newcastle and Ipswich, wrapped up victory with his second triumph in heat 14.
And he is set for an exciting end to the season - not just with Panthers who are chasing honours on three fronts - but also with his table-topping SGB Premiership side King’s Lynn.
Lambert said: “I’ve taken a lot of criticism this year, but people forget I had 10 weeks off during the season before I got picked up by Lynn.
“I wasn’t riding in other leagues or other countries like so many do and I was rusty as a result. But I was still scoring points against riders who are on their bike four, five or even six nights a week.
“I know I’m never going to be world champion. I’m never going to be a Championship number one either.
“But I can still do a job as I showed on Sunday and other people know that too because I’ve turned guest bookings down just lately.
“Newcastle wasn’t a good day for me. I scored six when guesting there earlier in the season and hoped to better that, but ended up with zero.
“Anyone who was at Ipswich knows I was really unlucky there. I rode pretty well and felt I deserved points.
“You always get stick when not scoring, but I don’t really care what the haters think.
“They’re welcome to come and have a go on my bikes. If they beat me they can crack on and have my job!”
The appointment of Lambert as skipper by club owner Ged Rathbone last winter certainly raised eyebrows - especially as former captain Ulrich Ostergaard is still at the club.
But it is a role the Lincolnshire-based racer has relished and he feels the return of a fine team spirit has been a huge factor in the club’s rise to the second-tier summit.
“We’ve tried to be a bit more professional this year,” added Lambert. “We’ve all got our team gear and anyone who is not out for the track-walk an hour before the start of the meeting gets fined.
“There have only been three fines all season and two of those were for Ged. I won’t say which rider got the other one!
“The spirit in the team has been brilliant and there has been a lot of banter flying around. We all bounce off each other and I firmly believe that has showed on the track.
“We’re just enjoying our speedway and we don’t really care who we face in the semi-finals of the play-offs to be honest.”
Lambert misses the club’s two remaining league fixtures - away to Workington on Friday and Lakeside the following night - for a rather unusual reason. He gets married to bride-to-be Sam on Saturday.
“The timing is unfortunate and it’s a shame to be missing a couple of meetings, but it’s the biggest day of my life and I’ll be back on my bike trying to win trophies next week,” continued Lambert.
“Ged even rang Sam the other day and asked if I was allowed out to play on Friday night, but the answer was ‘no’.
“Put it this way, if I go to Workington, I don’t think she’ll be there to marry me on Saturday!”