Going to the season’s halfway point, the equipe’s team captain Russell Wood enjoys a seemingly healthy lead in this year’s most prestigious South African two-wheeler title chase.

Five victories from ten race starts has earned Wood a total of 165 Championship points, versus the 123 of his nearest challenger Shaun Whyte (First Technology Yamaha) and the 118 of third-place man Hudson Kennaugh (Cell C Suzuki).

The hugely-experienced Wood does not see the above figures as any reason for complacency, though.

“At any round of the Vodacom Power Tour, the winner of both Superbike races scores a total of 40 points - which means that my 42-point lead over Whyte could be virtually wiped out this Saturday, should I fail to score points and he wins.”

“Considering that there are five rounds of the Power Tour left this season, we certainly do not have laurels to rest on,” Wood said this week.

Backing Wood in his title quest at Zwartkops will be multiple former South African Champion Greg Dreyer and youngster Charles Grassie, on identical Autopage Cellular Yamaha entries.

The Autopage Cellular Yamaha squad expects a tough test at Zwartkops. Both the Yamaha and Suzuki teams tested at the 2,4 km circuit last week. In both cases, they managed to lap under the existing Superbike lap record, with the eventual quickest times separated by tenths of seconds.

On Saturday, riders will tackle the morning’s Official Qualifying session, the opening ten-lap race and the final 15-lap race on the same set of tyres.

“We shall be well prepared - we will be the only team using Metzeller rubber, which I believe to be the best suited for the tyre torture required at Zwartkops.”

“The circuit is so tight and twisty that tyres never get the chance to cool and they tend to wear rather thin late in the second race.”

“At that point, having some usable grip left is worth gold - and I think that we could have that advantage,” Wood said.

“If so, I can predict victories, but we can not afford the luxury of making mistakes - scoring points on both occasions will be our first priority,” he added.

Original article from Car