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.

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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