FIM

Criag Watson 2005 hopes

Craig Watson after a spot in the 2005 FIM Speedway Grand Prix Australian Craig Watson's journey towards a place in the 2005 FIM Speedway Grand Prix Championship will reach its climax at Vojens in Denmark this Saturday, August 14. The ...

Craig Watson after a spot in the 2005 FIM Speedway Grand Prix

Australian Craig Watson's journey towards a place in the 2005 FIM Speedway Grand Prix Championship will reach its climax at Vojens in Denmark this Saturday, August 14.

The just-turned 28-year-old's brief will be a simple one in the cut-throat qualifier -- he will have to finish in the top two to be guaranteed a place in next year's top-tier world championship, where he will be aiming to join the likes of Leigh Adams, Jason Crump and Ryan Sullivan.

To that end, Watson, the 2002 Australian long track champion, will not only have to tame two riders already world championship incumbents -- Bohumil Brhel and Dane Hans Andersen -- but five other pilots who contested the thrilling Speedway World Cup final at Poole (UK) on August 5.

That quintet includes two members of the victorious Swedish combination -- Peter Karlsson and Antonio Lindback -- as well Danish duo Niels Kristian Iversen and Kenneth Bjerre. Marcin Rempala also contested the SWC final for Poland, in which Karlsson's nerveless victory in the final heat gave Sweden a 1pt victory over Great Britain.

However, Watson will not be unnerved by the classy 16-rider field, as he showed many of them, including Karlsson and Bjerre, a clean pair of heels in the semi-final in Belgium on June 20. Watson, who is averaging a very respectable 9.67 for Newport in the 2004 UK Premier League, topped scored in the heats on that occasion -- the type of imperious form he will have to replicate on August 14.

On a more recent note, Watson won the Premier Chase at King's Lynn in the UK on July 28, which is a unique format where 32 riders are gradually whittled down to four finalists in a series of knockouts. Watson scythed through that meeting, which provided the perfect confidence boost for his play on a world championship spot in 2005.

-www.ma.org.au

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