Britain’s unstoppable David ‘the’ Weir ‘wolf’ tore up an elite field of athletes to retain his title in the world’s fastest wheelchair race.
The northbound Tyne Tunnel between Jarrow and Howdon was closed last night for the Disability Confident Tyne Tunnel 2K International.
Weir powered home a full 29.4 seconds ahead of Canadian Paralympian Josh Cassidy, a past winner, in a time of 4:07.2 as the 24ft-wide road was transformed into a temporary 2km race track.
The women’s race was taken by Margriet van den Broek, from the Netherlands.
The official starter was Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson, who has competed in the race seven times.
She said: “There is nothing quite like the Tyne Tunnel 2K anywhere else in the world.
“It’s a fantastic showcase for wheelchair racing and for North East England.”
The Tyne Tunnel 2K begins with a 200m sprint from the south end of the northbound Tyne Tunnel, before descending the 1 in 20 downhill leg.
With an overall drop of 30m, the wheelchair athletes typically reach speeds between 35 and 45mph within 30 seconds.
The top recorded speed in Tunnel 2 is an incredible 56mph by Canadian Paralympian, Josh Cassidy, who said: “First time in the Tyne Tunnel… … you just wanna keep everything in your shorts!”