Pre-race favourite Matt Clinton justified his seeding as title favourite when he won the National Hill-Climb Championship in Derbyshire on Sunday.
The Coventry-based rider won the title race by 1.2 seconds over the Bank Road course in Matlock, with Gemini BC rival Bill Bell second and Southport CC?s Jim Henderson third, 2-3 seconds off the pace.
Clinton has gone unbeaten throughout the hill-climb season so far, with the title race being his 12th victory from 12 races, but it was mightily close at the end, with Bell pushing him all the way with a good ride.
?It?s great to win, but I?m not sure it?s such a surprise,? said Clinton afterwards. ?I?ve been going really well recently.
?I don?t know why my form is so good, because I rode the Otley CC two-stage with a cold and still won it easily. I?ve managed to avoid getting a cold since then.
?It?s like a tunnel up the hill, you can see straight up, and you just keep pedalling. There?s a bend about two thirds of the way up, and when I got there I wasn?t sure I had been going quick enough or whether I had the right line, but I had just enough left to sprint for the line.?
Defending champion James Dobbin (Arctic Premier RT) finished a disappointing 21st and was 21 seconds off the pace after snapping a carbon crank just before the start and having to borrow a bike from team-mate Danny Axford.
Top junior was Adam Pinder (Blackburn & District CTC), who led colleagues Ian Stott and Chris Edmondson to the team prize, while Lynn Hamel (The Green Room Group.com) was fastest of the women.
Jim Henderson, Matt Clinton, Bill Bell
Photos by Andy Jones
National Hill-Climb Championship (Matlock, Derbyshire, 834 metres).-
1 Matt Clinton (Mike Vaughan Cycles) 2-24.2
2 B. Bell (Gemini BC) 2-25.2
3 J. Henderson (Southport CC) 2-26.5
4 D. Griffiths (Paramount CRT) 2-29.6
5 L. Cowley (Plan B RT) 2-30.2
6 D. Clarke (Team Lacuna) 2-31.0
7 C. Taylor (South Pennine RC) 2-31.4
8 A. Pinder (Blackburn & Dist CTC) 2-34.6
9 A. Rodgers (Worthing Excelsior CC) 2-35.2
10 D. Atkins (Coventry RC) 2-39.5
Juniors.- Adam Pinder. Women.- Lynn Hamel (The Green Room Group) 2-59.6.
National Hill-Climb Championship 2008 photo gallery by Andy Jones
2008 National hill-climb preview
Matt Clinton wins eleventh consecutive hill-climb
Clinton looking good for Nationals
Furniss takes surprise Monsal hill-climb win