NGK-sponsored riders have swept Great Britain to a World Speedway title for the first time in 32 years.
Robert Lambert and Dan Bewley stunned Poland to win the Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations Grand Final in Manchester on Sunday.
Double world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik took the race win for Poland, but with his teammate Maciej Janowski crashing on the first lap, Lambert and Bewley filled the all-important second and third places for a priceless 5-4 heat advantage. Denmark claimed the bronze medal.
Great Britain hero Robert Lambert dedicated the Lions’ world-title triumph to injured star Tai Woffinden who was involved in a spectacular accident during the NGK-sponsored tournament the day before.
The Brits had not won a world team title since England lifted the 1989 World Team Cup at Bradford. Lambert, Bewley and under-21 star Tom Brennan were not alive 32 years ago.
So Lambert was elated to help Britain triumph without their triple World champion Tai Woffinden, who crashed out of Final 1 in a frightening incident in heat 18 on Saturday, damaging the MCL ligament in his knee as well as his ribs.
Lambert dedicated the victory to Woffy and insists he, replacement star Bewley and Brennan couldn’t have done it without the Scunthorpe-born maestro.
Commenting on the speedway.gp website, former European champion Lambert said: “We did it for Woffy and gave him everything we could. Hopefully he is sitting at home proud in front of the TV watching this. Tai was texting our mechanics throughout the meeting and telling us things he could see from his perspective. It was good.
“We have had a hard weekend with Tai getting injured. But obviously we had a strong guy to come into the team in Dan.
“I was born in 1998. It’s the first time in my lifetime that I have seen Great Britain as world champions, apart from Woffy being a world champion as an individual. It’s a great feeling and I am going to treasure this gold medal for as long as I live.
“We did it with such a young team as well. Me and Dan went out and did the business in the last race at such a high level against the two best Poles in the world. It’s such a great feeling for us and also Team GB. I am very, very proud of everyone involved.”
Lambert paid tribute to everyone who backed the Brits to an historic triumph at Belle Vue, Manchester.
He said: “I want to say thanks to all our background supporters, who have given us all the help, managing director Rob Painter and Vicky Blackwell. The whole support team we have behind Team GB is incredible.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do that without all of them around us and it’s a proud moment for us, my family and everyone around me now as we soak up this atmosphere and this moment of being world champions.
“I want to say thanks for all the support the fans gave us today. This is my first time back racing in Britain after a couple of seasons away. I have definitely missed the cheers from the British supporters. I really appreciate them and it is something special to my heart.”
John Money, who handles Speedway sponsorship on behalf of NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “It was a fantastic performance by our sponsored British riders Robert, Dan and Tai to help Britain become World champions. Dan performed heroically when he was brought in to replace Tai who was involved in a such a horrific looking accident and we wish Tai a speedy recovery.
“We are delighted to have been a key sponsor of the 2021 Speedway of Nations which saw all the riders sport the NGK logo on their race jackets and we had great exposure as both final days were featured live on BT Sport.”