[Picture courtesy of Larry Hickmott/VeloUK.net]
Balsall Common’s Matt Clinton had another impressive outing recently in claiming 6th place at the annual British Time Trial Championships, improving on his 9th placed finish in 2010.
A strong field assembled to tackle an extremely wet course traversing the border between Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire, with Mike Vaughan Cycles rider Matt Clinton aiming for an improvement on his 9th placed finish at the 2010 event in South Wales.
Persistent rain hampered the Balsall Common riders’ race warm up as he faced the challenge of balancing the need to warm up sufficiently against the need to keep as dry as possible before getting underway.
The Balsall Common ace understandably started off cautiously in tricky conditions, taking bends slowly in rainy conditions to reduce the risk of falling. Fortunately the rain began to ease while Matt was working his way into the tough first leg of the circuit, with a headwind and uneven water drenched road surface making for tough early going.
The lower section of the course saw riders really motoring, with the crosswind offering some assistance, speeds were in excess of 30mph until the turn back on rolling roads to complete the circuit.
Keeping it steady on his second lap, Matt was caught by Alex Dowsett (Team Sky) who was on his first lap. Though accidentally letting Dowsett extend his gap, Matt had him pegged at 30s to the same point on the following lap, where he left the main circuit to tackle the finishing stretch. Coming in at 1hr 2min 33s (28.2mph average), Matt’s ride was fast, but the fastest guys were still to come.
Dowsett upped the pace after his first lap to come flying in at 58min 26s (30.2mph average), followed by team-mate Steve Cummings, the only other rider to complete the course in under an hour.
Matt’s final position was 6th place once all the riders were in, but much to his credit, all those ahead of him had represented Great Britain at some point in their careers (3 of whom are current Professionals). So despite Matt’s pre-race target of a 5th placed finish this was a great result in a quality field.
He now looks ahead to the Isle of Man End to End Challenge, where he hopes to set a sub-3hr time before the hill-climb season gets underway in October.
Balsall Common based Matt Clinton rides for Mike Vaughan Cycles (Kenilworth).