BALSALL Common’s Matt Clinton clinched the Hinckley CRC’s Challenge weekend last week.
Held at Wolvey near Lutterworth, the event combines a 10-mile time-trial on Saturday with Sunday morning featuring a tougher 25-mile event. Strong winds would be the dominating feature of the weekend, with the “10” course being straight out and back to the Magna Park roundabout on the A5.
With some sections of road lacking shelter from the gusts, it made it hard going on Saturday afternoon however Clinton, riding for Mike Vaughan Cycles, was refreshed in this his first event for several weeks after two weeks off the bike on holiday.
Disaster nearly struck though when, reaching the turn in good time and concentrating on the traffic, he inadvertently took the wrong exit.
A quick recovery and he was back on track, however he’d lost several seconds with the mistake.
A tough homeward leg had him trying to limit the damage, crossing the line in a respectable 21:00 (28.6mph), to win the event by 29 seconds. Despite the conditions and the error, this ride was two seconds quicker than his time from 2011.
By the time the ‘25’ on Sunday morning, the rain had eased off, however the wind was still a prevailing factor.
Heading back out in the same direction of the ‘10’, the course would then turn up the rolling A5, battering the riders with cross-winds before heading back towards Wolvey for two laps.
A faster outward leg than the Saturday but tough conditions elsewhere had riders suffering after just one lap. There were no mistakes this time, with Clinton digging deep to record a time of 55:07, 17 seconds faster than his time last year, taking the event by 32 seconds overall.