IT was a case of mud, sweat and gears when the country’s best cyclo-cross riders descended on Tyne and Wear.

Hetton Lyons Country Park, Hetton le Hole was packed with cycling fans over the weekend as the HSBC UK National Cyclo-Cross Championships came to the region for the first time.

The event was staged by the Hetton Hawks with the help of an army of volunteers and sponsors.

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Medals were awarded across a range of age groups and genders, with the elite men’s title won by Grant Ferguson and Helen Wyman taking the elite women’s honour.

Mike Charlton, chairman of Hetton Hawks, said: “The feedback from the commissaires was this was the best event they have officiated. It was the most professional, the best ran – everything from the racing through to the car parking. They were blown away.”

A British Cycling spokesman told The Northern Echo: “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.”

Those thoughts were echoed by national champ Ferguson.

The CST American Eagle rider said: “I liked that it was technical, slippy, it was a really enjoyable track. I like the up and downs, the forest, little technical sections, corners, it was really good.”

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