Clinton climbs into the record books after Nationals second

The pain shows on Matt Clinton's face as he approaches the summit in Stocksbridge. Picture submitted
The pain shows on Matt Clinton's face as he approaches the summit in Stocksbridge. Picture submitted
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Kenilworth rider Matt Clinton secured a record-equalling eighth successive podium at the National Hill Climb Championships by finishing second at Stocksbridge, near Sheffield.

The infamous 1,200-yard Pea Royd Lane climb was last used in a National Championships in 2009, when Clinton placed second.

However, the Mike Vaughan Cycles rider admitted his latest podium finish came as something of a surprise.

“It comes as a shock each year when I medal,” said Clinton.

“The past few years I haven’t gone as well into the build up, but always manage to step up on the day.

“It was tough on that climb. I had to give myself a talking to on a couple of occasions to keep going.

“In the end it was worth it - this silver is almost as if I’d won again.”

With the gradient averaging 12 per cent, a bright dry day welcomed riders to the freshly resurfaced climb, while a strong tailwind buffeted the top of the ascent.

Riding a specially modified Trek Emonda, weighing at only 5.2kg, Clinton produced a strong ride with his time of 3min 26.5sec seeing him pipped to the title by Welshman Dan Evans (Team Elite), by just 2.3 seconds.

Adam Kenway (Team Zenith) was third in 3:28.1.

Clinton was also part of the Mike Vaughan Cycles trio that was pipped to second place in the team event by seven-tenths of a second.

George Goodwin had been the first of the team out.

Riding his first hill climb in four years, the 18-year-old recorded a time of 4:24.6 for 84th out of a field of 176.

Jack O’Neil, fresh from a sixth place in the BUCS Student Championships the day before, finished an impressive 25th in 3:54.4.

“I’m extremely pleased we got third in the teams too,” added Clinton, who now sits level with Stuart Dangerfield on successive podiums won.

“I knew we wouldn’t win with the quality of field taking part, but we gave it our best shot.”