On Monday night at Smallmead Stadium, Reading Euphony Racers take on their M4 rivals Newport Wasps in Premier League action 7.30pm. The Wasps have had an indifferent 2003 season like the Racers, they currently lie 12th in the Premier League table, just two places ahead of Reading.

Craig Watson leads Newport and has been in good form since his return to Premier League racing with the Wasps in 2003. So-much-so, that the Racers management called the Australian up as a guest replacement for the absent Peter Ljung, for last Sunday's 49-41 home win against Exeter Falcons, where he scored a faultless 14 paid 15 maximum for the Racers.

Unfortunately for Reading, Watson lines up in the other side of the Smallmead pits this week, with his parent club Newport. The Reading heat-leaders will have to be at the top of their game to stop the Aussie getting a full-house for the second week running.

Joining Watson as heat-leaders are Frank Smart and Niels Kristian Iversen. There is never much love lost with the hard-riding Smart, and with the Aussie in his final year of British racing he will be looking to put in a good performance in what is probably his last ever appearance at Smallmead. Iversen is currently in his first season of Premier League racing, having previously had a few outings for Kings Lynn in the Elite League. The Dane has surprised quite a few this season in racing to a creditable 8-plus average, which resulted in him making an appearance for the Danish team in the recent World Cup.

One rider who will be familiar to the Smallmead faithful in the Wasps camp, is Chris Schramm. Schramm rode for Reading in 2001 and 2002, before joining the Wasps on the eve of the current campaign. The 19-year-old has made no secret of his wish to return to Reading again in the future, so will be eager to take this opportunity of making a good impression to the watching Racers management.

The home side will be missing Peter Ljung, who is to remain out of action for one more week, having suffered first-degree burns in an accident in Poland last Sunday Ljung described the crash as a "big time crash". Racers will operate the rider-replacement for the injured Swede.

Fellow Swede Jonas Davidsson will also be out to continue the good form he's showed of late, particularly in home matches. This culminated in the 19-year-old having his best night in Britain so far, when he top-scored with 16 (paid 17) in last Sunday's victory against Exeter. The Swede looks to now have the measure of the Smallmead circuit, and with a season's experience under his belt will be looking to use this to improve his away form in Britain next season, providing he's selected for a team berth.

 

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