Great Britain ace makes sensational home return for King’s Lynn as champions Belle Vue are toppled
Robert Lambert made a sensational return to the Adrian Flux Arena as King’s Lynn toppled Premiership champions and league leaders Belle Vue 46-44 in the most dramatic of finales.
Lambert, who has rejoined the MacInnes Stars for their last six fixtures of a troubled season, brought the house down with an incredible Heat 15 effort to pass the Aces’ top duo of Brady Kurtz and Dan Bewley.
It secured a narrow victory for an injury-ravaged Stars side, and one they richly deserved after going down to five riders with Emil Breum taking no further part after a Heat 5 crash which left him with an elbow injury that has required hospital checks.
But Lambert aside, the key to the win was at reserve where captain Simon Lambert and Anders Rowe went above and beyond as they both scored 13+1 from seven rides apiece – meaning the Stars outscored the Aces in that department by an incredible margin of 26-1 on a night of fast and exciting racing.
The Lynn reserves served notice of their domination in that department with a 5-1 in Heat 2 to back up Robert Lambert’s win over Kurtz in the opener.
But Jaimon Lidsey and Charles Wright got the Aces back into contention with maximum points in Heat 3, and a close contest ensured with the visitors going ahead through Kurtz and Tom Brennan after Breum came to grief in Heat 5.
Robert Lambert defeated Bewley from the back in a terrific battle of the GP riders in Heat 6, with Rowe’s third place bringing the match back level – and another 4-2 followed in the next as Simon Lambert took the win as the Aces’ Jaimon Lidsey fell.
Rowe beat Brennan in Heat 8 with Michael Palm Toft third to put the Stars four points up, and guest Jordan Jenkins contributed an important third place by overtaking Norick Blodorn in Heat 9.
But the Aces weren’t finished and collected a 4-2 in Heat 11 whilst Lynn continued to deploy their superb reserves on a regular basis to cover both rider replacement and the loss of Breum.
Simon Lambert and Rowe held a 3-3 over Blodorn in Heat 12 to keep Lynn ahead, but it was all level after Heat 13 when Kurtz narrowly ended Lambert’s winning run with Bewley third over Palm Toft.
But the Stars reserves did it again in Heat 14 with Simon Lambert beating Wright, with Rowe taking third over Connor Bailey to make it 43-41.
A win for Robert Lambert in Heat 15 would be enough to secure the victory, but initially it looked set to be yet another agonising home defeat as the Aces held a 5-1 from the gate.
But Lambert was not to be denied, and in a memorable ride he passed Kurtz at the end of the second lap and then switched for the inside to get the better of Bewley on lap three – producing the highlight of the season for the Stars and the end of a nine-match losing sequence.
Team manager David Hoggart said: “I don’t want to be critical of the past because since I came in at the end of June the guys have ridden their hearts out week after week, and wherever we’ve gone they’ve tried.
“But Robert coming in has given us fresh impetus, and there’s a different atmosphere in the pits. The win has been a long time coming, and frankly it should have come before because the capabilities were there, but there were lots of reasons why it didn’t happen.
“The beauty of having Robert in the team is that he’s very grounded, his family are around him, and he’s got lots of support from everybody around him. He’s got an infectious personality and that’s already spread through the team in just a couple of meetings.
“The track was the best it’s been since I’ve been here, it was smooth and consistent and the grip was in the right place, and we saw more passing tonight than in the last four or five home meetings.”
The Stars are back in action at Leicester on Monday (8pm) with their home finale against Ipswich taking place on Monday September 4.
King's Lynn Stars 46: Robert Lambert 14, Simon Lambert 13+1, Anders Rowe 13+1, Michael Palm Toft 3+1, Jordan Jenkins 3+1, Emil Breum 0, Nicolai Klindt r/r.
Belle Vue Aces 44: Brady Kurtz 12+1, Dan Bewley 11, Jamon Lidsey 8, Charles Wright 7+2, Tom Brennan 5+1, Norick Blodorn 1, Connor Bailey 0.
Belle Vue win the aggregate point