Matt Clinton is the UK’s new hill-climb champion. After securing 11 victories in 11 races so far this season, he made it a round dozen at the National Hill-Climb Championship in Matlock, Derbyshire.
The Coventry-based ace, riding for Mike Vaughan Cycles, was third last year but took victory this time by just 1.2 seconds from William Bell (Gemini BC), while former champion Jim Henderson (Southport CC) was third, another 1.1 seconds slower.
Defending champion James Dobbin, the Arctic Premier RT rider who has struggled with flu over the past few weeks, had more bad luck when he snapped his crank before the start. He borrowed a bike from team-mate Danny Axford but could only manage 21st place, 21 seconds off Clinton’s pace.
William bell was beaten by just 1.2 seconds : william bell was beaten by just 1.2 seconds
After checking out the course mid-week, Clinton opted to ride on 42×20 gears, something which many scoffed at. He said afterwards: “I know some people laughed when I said I’d ride 42×20, but it worked. It’s heavy in the middle but on the start and last section it was perfect, and I think it gave me an edge.
“The course was a bit short for me but I managed okay. I’ve got great form but I wasn’t sure how I was doing until the end.
“I thought perhaps I hadn’t gone out hard enough, but I was sick four times on the way down so I must’ve been going fairly hard.”
Matt clinton’s colleagues from mike vaughan cycles: matt clinton’s colleagues from mike vaughan cycles
Crowds lined the course up the 834-metre
climb in the centre of Matlock – and the spectators included a 10-strong contingent of colleagues from Mike Vaughan Cycles, where Clinton works.
“They were cheering me on the last corner with air horns and stuff,” he added. “I didn’t notice on the way up because I was concentrating so much, but it was a great atmosphere.”
Blackburn & District CTC’s 18-year-old talent Adam Pinder, who has scored several good results in the past few weeks, was best of the juniors in eighth spot with 2-34.6, and along with Ian Stott and Chris Edmondson secured the team prize.
Lynn Hamel (The Green Room Group) was fastest of the women with 2min 59.6sec, about 25 seconds faster than second-placed Claire Thomas (Edinburgh RC).
Lynn hamel goes through the pain barrier: lynn hamel goes through the pain barrier
Student title goes to Wallis
Twenty four hours earlier, SouthamptonUniversity student Tim Wallis was crowned the British Universities SA National Hill-Climb Champion after a victory on the nearby Curbar climb in Derbyshire.
He clocked 5min 28.1sec for the 1,796-yard event to win by 2.1 seconds from Hertfordshire’s Michael Smith, while Kit Gilham, the Sheffield University student who was crowned King of the Mountains in the FBD Insurance Ras in Ireland this year, was third, another five seconds off the pace.
Gilham led Sheffield to the team prize alongside Eoin Elliott and Andrew Steel, joint ninth with 6min 11sec, beating Yorkshire rivals Leeds by just under 10 seconds.
Loughborough student Jessica Roberts was fastest woman with 7min 18.6sec.
National Hill-Climb Championship (Bank Road, Matlock, Derbyshire, 834 metres):
1 Matt Clinton (Mike Vaughan Cycles)
2 Bill Bell (Gemini BC)
3 Jim Henderson (Southport CC)
4 Dave Griffiths (Paramount CRT)
5 Lewis Cowley (Plan B RT)
6 Dave Clarke (Team Lacuna)
7 Charles Taylor (South Pennine RC)
8 Adam Pinder (Blackburn & Dist CTC)
9 Adrian Rodgers (Worthing Excelsior CC)
10 Darren Atkins (Coventry RC)
Junior: Adam Pinder
Women: Lynn Hamel (The Green Room Group)
British Universities SA National Hill-Climb Championship (Curbar, Derbyshire, 1,642 metres):
1 Tim Wallis (Southampton)
2 Michael Smith (Hertfordshire)
3 Kit Gilham (Sheffield)
4 Hamish Batchelor (Durham)
5 Henry King (Leeds)
6 Jack Kirk (Leeds)
7 Steven Guymer (Hull)
7 Robert Simpson (Durham)
9 Eoin Elliott (Sheffield)
9 Andrew Steel (Sheffield)
Team: Sheffield (Kit Gilham, Eoin Elliott, Andrew Steel)