18th Dec, 2017

Clinton and O'Neill continue to impress ahead of National Hill Climb Championships

Steve Carpenter 20th Oct, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

LEAMINGTON duo Matt Clinton and Jack O’Neill enjoyed another busy weekend as they continue with preparations for the National Hill Climb Championships this weekend.

A damp October day would greet the Mike Vaughan Cycles (Kenilworth) duo as they headed up to Matlock at the weekend with O’Neill riding two events promoted by Matlock Cycling Club and Clinton managed to sandwich in a third.

The day start with the Riber event wich is one of the steepest and most technical hill climbs with not less than seven hairpins in under half a mile.

A slight tailwind along the bottom half of the course would mean fast times and Clinton clocked his fastest ever ride on the climb by five seconds, despite admitting it was not his best ride.

His time of three minutes and 35 seconds was good enough for fourth place, while O’Neill also rode a personal best time of three minutes and 53 seconds to claim seventh.

The climb was won by in-form Joe Clarke in a course record of three minutes and 21 seconds.

“Riber doesn’t suit me,” said Clinotn. “I always struggle with getting power to the road, it’s so technical, and I’ve never won on this climb.

“Even on my stripped down 5kg Trek Emonda SLR climbing bike, it’s just not the climb for me.”

Clinton then took part in the 2.3-mile Chesterfield Couriers event, which was a vastly different climb to Riber.

Freezing cold conditions at the Moor would mean Clinton was unable to get close to his course record last year and he was made to settle of eight minutes and 53 seconds which was enough to take first place.

Clinton then headed back over to Matlock again to take part in the Bank Road event alongside O’Neill.

They were up against most of the other riders who took part in the Riber event earlier that morning.

It was the scene of Clinton’s 2008 National Hill Climb victory but one again the cold at Beeley would knock him well off the pace for this year’s event.

This time around Clinton finished in two minutes and five second to claim tenth position, while O’Neill produced an excellent ride to finish fourth after finishing four seconds quicker than his team mate.

The two Mike Vaughan Cycles climbers are upbeat with their chances for this weekend’s Nationals at Jackson Bridge.

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