Speedway: Potters put Lambert on fast track to joining the Elite
SIMON Lambert created his own little bit of history when, at about 10pm on Saturday, 18 June, he crossed the finishing line third in the final of National League Pairs Championship.
That third place, coupled with Tim Webster's second spot behind Newport's Todd Kurtz, made the Stoke duo National League Pairs champions.
And that bit of history? Well it was Lambert's third pairs title, an achievement no-one else has so far bettered.
As Lambert admits, his first two pairs title were special since they were achieved with Boston, his home-town club.
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But becoming the first rider to win three titles, regardless of the club, was even better.
"Riding for your local club is a bit special, and we had good times at Boston, but creating a bit of history with this third victory is something that might not be bettered," said the 22-year-old Stoke number one.
"It was such a good feeling for both Tim and I, and all the Stoke fans that were at Newport for the Pairs final.
"The meeting didn't go smoothly for us by any means, so a big pat on the back ought to go to both sets of mechanics.
"Tim had a problem ahead of one race and we got him out in the re-run with about 20 seconds to go. But we stuck at it and reached the final, and then worked it between us.
"I was faster than Tim and could possibly have passed Kurtz in that last race.
"But the sensible thing in that sort of meeting is to use your head as much as your throttle hand, and I knew that if I could mess Jay Herne up at the back and cover Tim in front, then victory was ours.
"At the time, I had no thoughts about it being my third win –and therefore a record – until it was mentioned later. But once it all sunk in it certainly meant a lot to me."
It's been that sort of season for Lambert. The Pairs title apart, he's also helped guide Stoke to the KO Cup final while playing a major role in Sheffield's rise to the top end of the Premier League table.
"In truth, Sheffield has to be a priority because that is where I am going to progress in the sport," he admitted.
"But I'm more than pleased that Stoke came in for me and that I came here. Riding in the two leagues is just what I need at this stage of my career.
"The only downer is that I've missed six Stoke meetings, more than I had anticipated.
"Hopefully, there will only be one or two more clashes this season because I am determined to play my part in Stoke keeping this good run going."
Lambert is certain Stoke have the talent to do just that.
He explained: "We have a really good blend of youth and experience in the side.
"Jaimie Pickard and Tim Webster are going well, and so is James Sarjeant at reserve.
"Tony Atkin had a slow start to the season. but he's turned that around now, so there are points throughout the side.
"There are no outsiders or prima donnas in the team, and that's why it works. We all like each other, have a laugh and work hard for each other.
"For me, it's also good to see the crowds coming back to Loomer Road. We had a really good crowd here last Sunday for the Dudley meeting, and I'm sure they'll be back again.
"Maybe it's because we are winning again and entertaining, and people are coming to have look. But as long as they keep coming back, I don't really mind why."
In all likelihood, this will be Lambert's last season riding in the National League – although he is not ruling out a return.
"Doubling up is really good because it keeps me busy and learning on the track," he added.
"But rather than doubling up with National and Premier League clubs, the hope is I can start to double up with Premier and Elite League outfits next season.
"That may not happen, of course, and if that is the case and I am still eligible for the National League, then I will continue to ride there.
"The way I see things, this is my best season in the sport so far and I need to build on that while my performances and confidence are good.
"I am scoring fairly well for Sheffield both home and away which is the important thing. If I was just a 'home rider' I wouldn't have the same thoughts about moving on.
"But I am getting more and more involved in Sheffield's away meetings, and the sensible thing is to look forward.
"A lot of that goes down to changing my ways off the track as much as on it. I have the stability of a decent support team behind me, but I've grown up too.
"I've a new girlfriend and enjoy spending any free time I have with her and my family.
"I also still work in the family haulage business, and that's great. I wouldn't want it any other way.
"It's fair to say that Simon Lambert is a busy lad these days – but that suits me fine."