Dave ‘The Weirwolf’ Weir powered to victory last night in the 13th Tyne Tunnel 2K International wheelchair race beating defending champion, Josh Cassidy of Canada into second place.
Special guest Esther McVey, Minister for Disabled People, sounded the horn to start the two kilometre race under the river Tyne after the Northbound Tyne Tunnel was closed to traffic at 8.35pm, becoming a temporary race track for the 18 international wheelchair racers from Britain, Spain, Canada and Australia. Josh
Cassidy had the advantage on the 1km, 1 in 20 gradient downhill stage - he has reigned supreme at the TT2K for the past three years as he is super fast on the downhill, always breaking 45mph. Josh did indeed get to the midpoint of the river. But Dave Weir was in fine form a year on from his London 2012 four gold medal haul and reeled in the Canadian to pass him half way up the shoulder burning 1km climb up to the North Portal finish line and the cheering crowds in a time of 4 minutes 2.5 seconds, 22 seconds ahead of the Canadian. 17 Year old Jade Jones from Middlesbrough was the only female taking part, finishing an impressive seventh place in a time of 5 minutes and 59.1 seconds.
Special guest and race start co-ordinator, Baroness Grey Thompson said "The athletes put on a great spectacle for the crowd and media alike. It was so good to see both ends of the wheelchair racing spectrum here from the hard core British Wheelchair Racing Association members, to young up and coming athletes like Jade Jones and Jamie Carter to the absolute elite internationals and of course the master himself, David Weir!"
Rachel Turnbull Chief Executive of TT2, the Tyne Tunnels Operator, said “The 13th Tyne Tunnel 2K is hands down the best race we have seen yet. TT2 is proud to play host to this incredible event and maintain the Paralympic Legacy Momentum"