Robert Lambert’s Cardiff dream quickly turned into a nightmare.
Almost everything that could have gone wrong for King’s Lynn Stars’ captain at the British Grand Prix did. But his first full experience of the sport’s top table, as a wildcard, was not all in vain.
The 20-year-old will have learned so much about himself in the Welsh capital and can use the disappointment to further fuel that fire that he will one day go on to become world champion.
That glory may never happen but there’s one thing for certain. Lambert is good enough to be a GP rider and he’s showed it this season and at the weekend – regardless of the fact he only scored one point.
The British and British Under-21 champion has been tipped for the top since breaking into the UK’s top tier at the age of 16.
Journalists like myself have been interviewing him and following his story since he was at secondary school with about as much bumfluff on his chin as there is brakes on his speedway bike.
Everything that’s happened since hasn’t dispelled those thoughts that the Foulsham-based racer is the country’s hottest prospect.
So Saturday’s frustrating and infuriating showing, having won the British final to qualify for the showcase event, will have been a bitter pill to swallow.
Lambert was handed a tapes exclusion on his first ride after shedding a chain and failing to make the start in the allotted two-minute time period. He then took a heavy tumble in his next outing and was on the end of an atrocious decision when he was excluded, rather than Tai Woffinden, for causing the stoppage.
In heat 10, the Great Britain international went toe-to-toe with Freddie Lindgren and the night’s eventual winner Bartosz Zmarzlik and deserved much more than the last place he collected.
His solitary point came in his fourth ride of the night and his fifth was another one to forget when he was wrongfully, again, excluded after being caught up in an incident that saw Jason Doyle take a nasty spill. Lambert’s pass on the world champion prior to his crash showed everything we already know about the Norfolk sensation.
He’s an entertainer, he’s a racer and he thrives on the biggest stage.
It’s why he’s achieved so much in his fledgling career already. Winning a round of the European Championship this month is a massive achievement.
As was the character the Stars’ skipper showed to keep fighting in Cardiff and bounce back for Lynn on Monday.
Instead of moping and dwelling on his GP anguish, Lambert clinched a win in heat-15 to edge a final-heat decider against Poole.
Saturday wasn’t the GP end for our Robert, it was just the start because he’ll be back.