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.

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Cycling: Matt Clinton takes runner up spot in National Hill Climb

Matt Clinton 2010 National Hill Climb

Matt Clinton finished as runner up in today’s National Hill Climb at Dover’s Hill, Gloucestershire for the second year running, 6 seconds behind a successful defending Champion Dan Fleeman (Raleigh UCI team). 25 year old 2008 Champion Clinton (Mike Vaughan Bikes, Kenilworth) had to wait nervously at the finish line, having occupied top spot right until the end when last man Fleeman flew up the hill to take the title.
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Cycling: Matt Clinton aims for honours at National Hill Climb Championship

Balsall Common’s Matt Clinton will be hoping he can go one better than last year as he takes on defending champion Dan Fleeman at the RTTC National Hill Climb Championship title tomorrow (Sunday 31st October). Last year’s runner up Clinton knows he’ll have his work cut out as he tackles the brutal Dover’s Hill in Gloucestershire against an array of tough competitors including former Champion James Dobbin and this year’s Catford Hill Climb winner Robert Gough.
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Balsall Common to Hampton-In-Arden

Balsall Common to Hampton in Arden is a pleasant and scenic ride if you avoid the busy roads. This route is suitable for standard “off road” bikes (i.e. Mountain bikes) and will take between 1-3 hours to complete.

The route

Using the miracles of modern technology and not wanting to infringe Ordinance Survey Crown copyright, I present a highly detailed map….


1)Start at the Saracens pub heading out of the village

2) Turn right down Barston Lane

3) Follow the road to the left at the junction, continuing along Barston Lane towards, er, Barston.

4) Just over Barston Bridge, there is a turning into to a dead-end road on the right (Ryton End). Take this road.

5) At the end of Ryton End you will come to a gate, go through it.

6) Follow the off-road bumpy drive towards West Midlands Golf Club/Fishing Lake

7) Sludge around the lake trying to the fish getting dirty looks from Fishermen if you make any sound.

8) Half way around the lake is a little bridge exiting lakeside(“Packhorse Bridge). go over the bridge.

9) Follow the trail around some small fishing lakes and should come out on Marsh Lane. Turn Left towards Hampton-on-Arden.

9) Follow the road alongside the railway into Hampton on Arden and spend some time recovering in the pub or church depending on your religion.

10)Coming back, you can take the same way or exit the Golf club using the official entrance.

..rembering not to go under any railway bridge as this will take you onto the noisy and smelly A452.

For a change, you can take woolten lane back to the Balsall Common.