Clinton climbing back to his best

Matt Clinton underlined his favouritism for the National Hill Climb Championships with overall victory at the Matlock CC Hill Climbs.

The first climb of the day was a multi-hairpinned ascent to Riber Castle, with performances hampered by damp conditions and a leaf-covered road.

Last man off, Clinton again flew up the climb, taking in the bottom half extremely quickly, but as the gradient steepened it was clear he was struggling to stop wheelspin on the greasy surface.

The Balsall Common rider was using his geared bike for only the second time this year and it also brought about his second defeat, this time by three-tenths of a second to Buxton CC’s Lee Baldwin.

After a couple of hours break, the riders would be back into the centre of Matlock to take ride Bank Road - the scene of the 2008 National Championships which were won by Clinton.

The normal open event uses a shorter version of the National’s course, but still ramps up to more than 25 per cent gradient as it heads straight out of the town centre.

A completely different climb to Riber, this would be a pure power climb, with a smooth, dry surface.

Last off again, this time on his fixed wheel bike, Clinton used his pure power to his advantage to finish in 1:53.6.

It gave him a winning margin of almost three seconds, with his combined time putting him 3.3 seconds clear of second-placed Baldwin.

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