Riders promise thrills as cyclo-cross spectacular heads to Hetton Lyons Country Park this weekend

Cyclo-cross action comes to Hetton Lyons Country Park this weekend
Cyclo-cross action comes to Hetton Lyons Country Park this weekend

Wearside plays host to the HSBC National Cyclo-Cross Championship for the first time this weekend.

The country’s leading riders will take part in the annual event, being staged this year at Hetton Lyons Country Park on Saturday and Sunday.

The second day of the two-day spectacular will be live streamed on BBC Sport and via the red button, as well as being available on British Cycling’s website and Facebook page.

Some 650 of the UK’s leading cyclo-cross riders will compete across 10 categories and various age ranges to become the 2018 national cyclo-cross champions in a sport which tests cycling skills to the limit with off-road courses over rough terrain.

Evie Richards won the Under-23 women’s title at the 2017 championship in Bradford, and last month claimed her first UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup victory.

The 20-year-old is now aiming to defend her national title on Wearside.

Richards said: “The live streaming of the 2018 HSBC UK | National Cyclo-cross Championships presents us with a fantastic opportunity to showcase our sport and take it to a much bigger audience.

“Cyclo-cross is an enthralling spectator sport, and I’m sure that people who tune in for the first time will be back again for more in the future.”

The event is being organised by Hetton Hawks Cycling Club – who have been based at Hetton Lyons Country Park for 15 years – with support from British Cycling and Sunderland City Council.

The event is made possible with help from the North East cycling community and 100 volunteers.

The event starts at 9.30am on Saturday, with the first in a programme of 45-minute races across the park which is open to spectators throughout.

Each champion will be awarded their trophy at the end of each race by local community leaders on the podium.

Sunderland Council’s portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, Cllr John Kelly said: “Hetton Hawks Cycling Club being invited to organise this event in the city is a huge honour for Sunderland.

“It is also testament to the city’s commitment to promoting all forms of cycling, and to the hard work of the club, local cycling community and volunteers who have all worked together to make this possible.

“It is wonderful that this event is coming to Hetton Lyons Country Park and I hope everyone will come out to enjoy watching some fast, frantic and skilful action from some of the country’s top riders over the fantastic terrain that the park offers.”

Mike Charlton, the chair of Hetton Hawks Cycling Club, added: “Winning the opportunity to host the 2018 National Championship as a little club in the North East is quite an accolade. Our collective aim is to deliver an event that the whole of the UK cycling community can be proud of which will inspire our riders to achieve more on and off the bike.”

For full race details visit www.hettonnationals.co.uk or join the Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/National-Cyclo-Cross-Championships-Hetton-Hawks-119332698848096/