National spotlight on Wearside as cyclo-cross spectacular wows crowds

The event was held at Hetton Lyons Country Park.
The event was held at Hetton Lyons Country Park.

Wearside was in the national spotlight as some of the nation’s leading cyclists got on their bikes for a major event.

Hetton Lyons Country Park played host to the HSBC National Cyclo-Cross Championship for the first time over the weekend.

The Junior Mens' Championship race begins on Sunday.

The Junior Mens' Championship race begins on Sunday.

Cyclo-cross riders from across the country descended on the park, with 650 leading competitors taking part in the two-day event.

The second day of the championship was streamed live on BBC Sport and via the red button as riders were tested to the limit on the tough terrain.

The event was made possible thanks to the efforts of 320 volunteers across the weekend, as well as Hetton Hawks Cycling Club, which hosted it.

Organisers estimated thousands of people came to the park to either take part or spectate.

It went better than any of us could have hoped for

Mike Charlton

Mike Charlton, the chair of Hetton Hawks Cycling Club, said: “It went better than any of us could have hoped for.

“The weather was kind, there were great crowds and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

“It was absolutely incredible.

“The course was regularly described by competitors over the weekend as being of world championship level.

The event was held at Hetton Lyons Country Park.

The event was held at Hetton Lyons Country Park.

“People who will have never been to Hetton – or never had any intention of doing so – and really enjoyed it, so it has helped to put the place on the map.”

Organisers say thousands of people watched the event.

Organisers say thousands of people watched the event.

Action from the boys' under-14 and 16 race, which took place on Saturday.

Action from the boys' under-14 and 16 race, which took place on Saturday.

Action from the Junior Mens' Championship race.

Action from the Junior Mens' Championship race.

The boys' under-14 and 16 race was held on Saturday.

The boys' under-14 and 16 race was held on Saturday.

The Junior Mens' Championship race took place on Sunday.

The Junior Mens' Championship race took place on Sunday.

Action from the boys' under-14 and 16 race, which took place on Saturday.

Action from the boys' under-14 and 16 race, which took place on Saturday.

Organisers hailed the event as a huge success.

Organisers hailed the event as a huge success.