Ducati Fila's Neil Hodgson is currently experiencing the proverbial 'calm before the storm', as he faces up to one of the biggest challenges of his career next week.

But, for the Isle of Man resident, who needs just ten points to clinch the World Superbike championship title with three rounds to go, the month of August has been anything but calm.

The small matter of winning the 2003 crown pales into insignificance when compared with the exhausting and potentially nerve-wracking experiences of moving house - which Hodgson and wife Kathryn completed in mid-August - and the birth of their first child, which is scheduled for the first week in September.

Despite the pressure, the Briton is bearing up under all the strain and, with just a couple of days to go before Kathryn enters hospital, and a week before he arrives in Holland for the crucial Assen round of the championship, he admitted to being surprisingly energised for both events.

"I feel really awesome and my batteries are totally recharged," Hodgson revealed, "After Brands Hatch, I didn't realise how run-down I was, and how much the pressure of leading the championship and the obligations of riding for a manufacturer like Ducati were taking on me. With all that has happened since Brands Hatch, I have only been able to recharge my batteries this week, but now I am ready to come out fighting, like I was at the start of the season."

Hodgson went on to say that he was not planning to do anything differently ahead of the Assen round, despite the chance of taking the title being on the line.

"There's just no point in doing it any differently to any other race," he insisted, "I've been training like I was at the start of the season, and cycling like a lunatic - I reckon I could enter the Tour de France!

"After Brands, I felt weak and drained, but I've also been doing some weights and feel stronger than I was one month ago. When you are physically fit, it helps you to be mentally fit as well, so now I feel I'm back up to full strength.

"Going all out for the win is the plan but, if that doesn't work and I get eleven points for fifth place, then I'll say that I had it planned all along!"