He grew up watching Panthers. He loves racing for Panthers. Now Simon Lambert is honoured to be named as captain of Panthers.
The Lincolnshire lad takes over as skipper of the city club for the new SGB Championship season – Lambert’s fourth in succession in red and black.
He admits to being surprised when given the nod by owner Ged Rathbone to replace Ulrich Ostergaard, who has captained the club since their return to the second tier of the sport in 2014 and remains a Panthers rider this year.
But Lambert is relishing the role and insists building up a top team spirit will be his first priority
He said: “It’s a huge honour to be captain. I watched Peterborough every week as a boy, I’ve grown up with this club and I’ve loved riding for Panthers.
“Everyone knows I’m very happy here and it would be brilliant to be able to lift some silverware as the club’s captain.
“Ged gave me a call the other day so say I’d got the job and I have to admit I was pretty surprised.
“I knew he was thinking about having a change of captain, but felt sure Scott (new number one, Nicholls) would be the man with all his experience in the sport.
“But Ged feels I’m the man for the job and I’ll do everything I can to help us be successful.
“The key thing is making sure the team spirit is there. It was brilliant in my first year here, but it’s been pants for the last two seasons.
“That’s not a dig at Ulrich, or anything like that. It was more down to the riders and the personalities we had in the team.”
Lambert will start the new season at reserve and hopes to kick on from a high-scoring end to last term.
He is also hoping to avoid adding to his long list of serious injuries in the coming months.
The 29 year-old saw his 2015 and 2017 campaigns interrupted by shoulder and wrist breaks respectively, while the 2016 campaign was cut short after an early-July spill left him with a broken hand and knee-ligament damage.
“I’ve had 13 broken bones in speedway – and I think only two or three of them have been my fault,” continued Lambert.
“Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is the story of my life, but hopefully I can have a clear run this year.
“I had surgery in November to have the plates and screws removed from the wrist I broke last year. That feels good although I could do with some warmer weather as my body hurts when it’s cold!
“I was on it all year in 2015, but I struggled at the start of 2016 before coming good and then getting injured.
“Last season started really poorly, but I was hitting form when I broke my wrist and managed to come back really well from it.
“I beat a lot of top guys around the Showground and also scored points at tracks where I’ve struggled in the past.
“No-one would have expected me to win heat 14 at Ipswich in the second leg of the KO Cup final - least of all me!
“I’m going into this season with the best bikes I’ve ever had, so it’s up to the man on top now and Sunday can’t come quickly enough.”