MATT Clinton failed to hide his disappointment after failing to make the podium at the National Hill Climb Championships for the first time in eight years.
The 30-year-old has been plauged by injury and illness this season and those problems have affected his performances in 2015.
That proved to be the case again at the National Hill Climb Championships at Jackson Bridge in Yorkshire where he was made to settle for seventh place.
A bright autumnal day greeted riders but Clinton failed to impress as he finished in a time of four minutes and 27 seconds, which was six seconds off from the bronze medal.
“It hasn’t really gone to plan for me at all this hill climb season,” said Clinton. “Shingles definitely knocked back my anaerobic (top end) power back in the spring and I’ve never got this back.
“A virus two weeks ago certainly didn’t help either. It was actually pretty devastating not to be on the podium after being on a step for eight years.
“Since 2004 I’ve been placed sixth or higher. I’ve always said the competition was strong this year. Next year we’re back on Bank Road in Matlock where I won my 2008 title, my hunger to win will definitely be back.”
Clinton has also taken Jack O’Neill under his wing and the 20-year-old put in a hugely impressive performance at the same event.
Under the coaching guidance of Clinton, O’Neill had targeted a top 20 finish and he did just that by clocking a time of 4:37.1 to finish 14th out of a field of 240 riders, and his time was 0.1 seconds faster than five-time event winner Jim Henserson.
Clinton added: “I’m much more pleased with Jack’s ride than my own, he’s impressing even more with every ride – this was his best power ever today.”