As the SA Superbike Championship hits its home straight, things will be heating up at Aldo Scribante in Port Elizabeth this weekend.

As the SA Superbike Championship hits its home straight, things will be heating up at Aldo Scribante in Port Elizabeth this weekend.

With four of the season's races left to run, the Autopage Cellular Yamaha team will tackle Saturday's races with "cautious optimism" as team leader Russell Wood sets his sights on the title.

With 241 points, and 80 on offer at Saturday’s meet, Wood is hoping to have his closest challengers Shaun Whyte (First Technology Yamaha) and Hudson Kennaugh (Cell C Suzuki) eat his dust. They each hold 208 and 198 points respectively.

"That means that nobody can afford mistakes, even those made by other

people," said Wood.

"If I fail to finish any of the year's final four races, my Championship lead will be in jeopardy - which makes title victory expectations premature at this stage," he added.

And with good reason… Wood has already been the victim of other riders' mistakes twice before in this season while leading races.

The first occasion was at Aldo Scribante in April, when his Yamaha was T-boned out of the day's opening race by the Cell C Suzuki of an errant Noel Haarhoff. The second incident occurred at AA Kyalami in August, when Wood's motorcycle was

struck from behind by the First Technology Yamaha of an over-zealous Arushen

Moodley.

"Between them, the two crashes cost me some 38 points - which means that similar incidents could cost me the Championship," said Wood.

The multiple former Champion has no intention of taking things easy during the weekend's races at Aldo Scribante.

"The top eight riders on the grid should be covered by less than a second,” he said. "I have no choice but to go as hard as I can in both races, with the ability to slow down an unlikely luxury," he added.

Wood’s status as Championship leader does not make him the automatic victory favourite at Aldo Scribante. That honour must go to Hudson Kennaugh who set a new lap record at the previous Superbike outing to Aldo Scribante earlier this year.