Cycling: Matt Clinton goes off road in Mountain Bike series

Matt Clinton leads the way in the early stages of the XC Series near Stoke

Hanchurch near Stoke on Trent was the venue for the third round of the Midlands XC mountain bike series, where Balsall Common’s Matt Clinton riding for Mike Vaughan Cycles contesting his second event of the season in the Expert category.

Getting the holeshot off the line, Matt jumped into an early lead which he maintained throughout the first of 5-laps round the tough course, which had steadily been drying out since overnight rain. Still leading entering the second lap, Matt was closely tailed by Lee Westwood (Raleigh), series leader after two rounds. The heavens then opened and the race was hit by a torrential summer shower, creating slick conditions which worsened as the race went on.


With mud flying everywhere, Matt was forced to stop to remove his glasses. This allowed Lee the advantage and soon he was out of sight. Matt rode strongly at his own pace trying to bring Lee back into view but all in vain, he never caught another glimpse of his rival. Matt’s lack of mountain bike riding over the last 4 months also played its’ part as Matt’s back began to suffer under the strain of the chase, to the extent that he didn’t notice being passed by another rider at the beginning of lap 4, and as he rolled across the line in third place he still thought he’d claimed 2nd.

Matt now looks ahead to the Isle of Man End to End in September, hoping to improve on his 3rd place of last year and go under 3hrs for the course.
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