Lancashire’s Daniel Shand scored a narrow victory over reigning National Hill-Climb Champion Matt Clinton on Saturday, proving he is a real contender for the title race in two weeks time.
Shand, a 22-year-old from Littleborough, has been racing in Belgium for the last three seasons, and is targeting a professional contract this winter.
And on the basis of his performances in recent hill climbs, he could be a good catch for a team manager.
Riding for West Pennine Road Club, Shand clocked 6-58.7 in the Holme Valley Wheelers’ event up the 1.3-mile climb of Holme Moss, inflicting Clinton’s first defeat in around two years.
Former champions Jim Henderson (Southport CC) and James Dobbin (Arctic Premier RT) had to settle for third and fourth respectively, with Shand and Clinton clear.
However, Clinton hit back in style that same day, with victory in the Huddersfield Star Wheelers event on the nearby 1,540-yard Jackson Bridge climb, his time of 4-09.5 being five seconds quicker than Shand, while Henderson and Dobbin were third and fourth again.
And on Sunday, Coventry rider Clinton added another victory to his growing list with a win in the Lancashire Road Club’s 947-yard climb of The Rake at Ramsbottom in Lancashire.
Shand was 6.3 seconds further back, while once again, Henderson and Dobbin had to settle for third and fourth.
While Clinton and Shand locked horns in the north, further south most of the big guns rode the Catford CC and Bec CC climbs on Sunday.
There was a surprise winner in the Bec CC event as a downpour mid-way through the event gave most of the favourites real problems with traction.
In the end, the £1,000 first prize went to early starter Michael Leonard-Smith (Team Milton Keynes), who covered the 700-yard course at Titsey, near Limpsfield in Surrey, in an impressive 1-46.3.
“I was disappointed beforehand to be off so early in the field, said Leonard-Smith, who was second in the 2008 BUSA Championships on the Curbar climb in Derbyshire. “But in the end it wasn’t a bad thing.”
The morning’s Catford CC event was won by Chippenham and District Wheelers’ Robert Gough, who held off Arctic Premier RT’s Jody Crawforth and AW Cycles Matt Melville.
Charles Taylor (South Pennine RC) won Sunday’s Monsal hill climb, there’s a full report and photos in our news section>>
Holme Valley Wheelers (Holme Moss, Derbyshire, 1.3 miles)
1. Daniel Shand (West Pennine RC) 6-58.7
2. Matt Clinton (Mike Vaughan Cycles) 7-00.2
3. Jim Henderson (Southport CC) 7-05.4
Huddersfield Star Wheelers (Jackson Bridge, West Yorkshire, 1,540 yards)
1. Matt Clinton (MikeVaughan Cycles) 4-09.5
2. Daniel Shand (West Pennine CC) 4-14.8
3. Jim Henderson (Southport CC) 4-15.8
Lancashire Road Club (The Rake, Lancashire, 947 yards)
1. Matt Clinton (Mike Vaughan Cycles) 2-26.9
2. Daniel Shand (West Pennine RC) 2-33.2
3. Jim Henderson (Southport CC) 2-34.8
Bec CC (White Lane, Titsey, Surrey, 700 yards)
1. Michael Leonard-Smith (Team Milton Keynes) 1-46.3
2. Robert Gough (Chippenham & District Wh) 1-50.1
3. Jody Crawforth (Arctic Premier RT) 1-52.3
Catford CC (Yorks Hill, Sevenoaks, 660 yards)
1. Robert Gough (Chippenham & District Wheelers) 1-58.1
2. Jody Crawforth (Arctic Premier RT) 2-00.8
3. Matt Melville (AW Cycles) 2-09.5