Steve and co take on an uphill task

The Hill Climb season is now well underway with many local riders testing themselves on some of the hardest climbs in and around the area.

Riders set off at one-minute intervals as they time-trial from the bottom to the top.

Three Matlock Cycling Club riders took on Saturday’s event up the notoriously tough Curbar climb, organised and promoted by Birdwell Wheelers.

At just over one mile in length, with an average gradient of 11 per cent, it is widely known as one of the hardest Hill Climbs around.

The event was predictably won by ex-National Hill Climb Champion Matt Clinton, who recorded a superb time of 5 minutes 17.6 seconds.

Second place went to Buxton CC’s Lee Baldwin, who finished in 5:33.6, with Ciclos Uno’s Andy Nichols third in 5:48.2.

Fastest Matlock rider was Steve Strange, who came fourth overall in a time of 6 minutes and 9.4 seconds.

Kevin White and Patrick Smart from Matlock CC both finished inside the top ten too with times of 6:22.7 and 6:42.7 respectively for 6th and 9th places overall.

Zepnat RT’s Karen Ledger was the fastest lady rider, coming home in 7 minutes and 43.7 seconds to take 14th place overall.

Round Five of this season’s Notts and Derby Cyclo Cross League took place on Saturday afternoon at Allestree Park, organised and promoted jointly by South Pennine RC and Zepnat RT.

The event was held in glorious sunshine, with huge numbers taking part in each category race. What started off as a dry and fast course soon cut up to create sections with sticky mud, playing havoc with the drive train of some riders’ bikes.

The seniors’ race was won by David Fletcher of Orange Monkey Cannondale Race Team. Fletcher had too much in the tank as he opened up a gap on the chasing pack, finishing well clear some 22 seconds ahead of second-placed Andy Naylor of Fossa Racing.

The fight for third place, however, was very exciting as three riders crossed the line with just a few inches separating them as they sprinted for the chequered flag.

Hargroves Cycles’ Joe Kirkham just managed to get his front wheel over the line first to take the final podium spot, 28 seconds down on the winning time.

The familiar pattern continued in the women’s race, as Zepnat RT’s Diane Lee continues to dominate the league, finishing well ahead of second placed Tracey Fletcher of VC Long Eaton.

Matlock Cycling Club’s Maz Heffron and Christine Howard both had great races, finishing fourth and sixth.

Tom Weeds of Derby Mercury recorded yet another win in the boys Youth Under 16s race. Weeds had a huge winning margin of nearly three minutes by the time he crossed the finish line.

In the Youth Under 14s race, Owyn Wallace of Sherwood Pines just had the edge over the chasing pair of Calum Fernie (Nottingham Clarion) and previous week’s winner Cameron Orr (Matlock Cycling Club), who finished in second and third respectively.

The Under 12s race was won by Derby Mercury’s Joshua Scales in a time of 16 minutes and 16 seconds.

The next two podium places were taken by Poppy Wildman of Nottingham Clarion, and Ellie Smith of Matlock Cycling Club.

The pair were locked in a battle throughout the race, both trying their best to ride away from each other, but on the last lap, a sprint for the line ensued, and Wildman just managed to get her wheel in front. Such was the closeness of the finish, both riders were awarded exactly the same time.

In the Under Nines category, Sam Gould’s (Matlock Cycling Club) domination continued as he recorded yet another win.

Again it was teammate Louis Swindell who pushed Gould for the win, but eventually Gould managed to open up a 23-second gap to take the win, with Swindell second and Derby Mercury’s Otto Chilton third.

Matlock Cycling Club’s Harriet Limb followed Gould’s lead in taking the Girls Under 9s win with yet another strong performance.