DERBYSHIRE?S David Clarke (HBM Mercia CC) scored a morale-boosting victory over James Dobbin (Arctic Shorter Rochford RT) in Saturday?s two-stage hill-climb in Halifax, West Yorkshire.

The two riders, who are tipped to be battling it out for the national championship next Sunday, were separated by just 1.1 seconds after the two events, but with the course for the title race at Cheddar Gorge being longer Dobbin will still fancy his chances of victory on a course which is just 20 miles from his home and features in his training regime.

Dobbin won the 1,767-yard Stocks Lane climb which was used for the first stage of Saturday?s event, and clocked 5-42.0 while Clarke was just one second further back with Matt Clinton (Mike Vaughan Cycles) third, more than 15 seconds off the pace.

But in the second stage, a 1,760-yard climb at nearby Halifax Lane, Clarke won by 2.1 seconds from Dobbin, with Clinton again third, around 17 seconds slower than the winner.

Both riders were due to be in action in Sunday?s hill-climbs – check back later for results from the Catford CC and Bec CC events.

Halifax Road Club two-stage Hill-Climb.-

Stage one (Stocks Lane, 1767 yards).-

1 James Dobbin (Arctic Shorter Rochford RT) 5-42.0
2 Dave Clarke (HBM Mercia CC) 5-43.0
3 Matt Clinton (Mike Vaughan Cycles) 5-57.8

Stage two (Halifax Lane, 1,760 yards).-

1 Dave Clarke 5-35.6
2 James Dobbin 5-37.6
3 Matt Clinton 5.52.2

Final overall.-

1 Dave Clarke 11-18.5
2 James Dobbin 11-19.6
3 Matt Clinton 11-50.0

Women.- Anne Buckley (Yorkshire Road Club) 15-50.7. Veterans.- Steven Smith (Yorkshire Road Club) 15-24.3.