The success of the National Cyclo-Cross Championship at Hetton-le-Hole at the weekend will hopefully inspire a new generation of Wearside cyclists.
That’s the message from British Cycling after thousands of spectators turned out in force to watch the races at Hetton Lyons Country Park.
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, and there was plenty of praise for their efforts.
A British Cycling spokesperson said: “We’ve been delighted by the response to this year’s HSBC UK | National Cyclo-cross Championships, both from the local community here in Sunderland and across the country thanks to the BBC’s live broadcast of the event.
“From the local clubs and volunteers who have worked so hard to plan the championships to all the supporters who came out to watch, this has been a real community effort, and we hope that it will have helped to inspire the next generation of cyclists here in the North East.”
Helen Wyman pulled on the national stripes for a 10th time by winning the women’s race, while Grant Ferguson won his maiden elite title.
Earlier in the day Tom Pidcock and Evie Richards put on awesome displays of powerful and precise riding to take the Under-23 titles at the Hetton Lyons Country Park.
In the women’s Junior category race, there was success for Harriet Harnden, while Sean Flynn took the win in the Junior men’s race.
Wyman (Xypex-Verge Sport) powered away from two-time defending champion Nikki Brammeier (MUDIITA Canyon) in the latter stages of an intriguing battle to regain the national jersey.
“I think it must have been exciting for the spectators,” the 36-year-old said.
“It was probably less than 15 second for the finish and I hope everyone enjoyed it. I really enjoyed being in the battle.”
Professional mountain biker Ferguson (CST-American Eagle) deposed Ian Field to win his elite National Cyclo-Cross Championship title after timing his effort to perfection.