South African, Ernst van Dyk powered to victory in the mens race in 4 minutes 6.7 seconds. Heavy drizzle delivered a slow start and severe bunching going into the Tunnel with athletes struggling for position. Ernst got the jump on the pack and he was first to tuck into position for the 1km high-speed free-wheel to the belly of the river Tyne.
As predicted, by the time he reached the bottom, the world's 'fastest coaster' was 200m ahead of the field.
For part two of the race, the burning question was... could the lighter Australian, Kurt Fearnley, the Tunnel 2K course record holder and the world's best hill climber, make up the ground?
Kurt's speed up the left hand spiral incline had to be seen to be believed as he left athlete after athlete in his wake but the elusive South African remained just out of reach. Van Dyk maintained his lead to win. Said Fearnley, "I was eating up the tarmac and spitting it out towards the finish but I couldn't close Ernst down - for a heavy athlete, he is notoriously fast.
Ralph Brunner from Germany repeated his 2006 performance to take third place.
Briton Shelly Woods successfully defended her title to win the women's race in 6 minutes 24.9 seconds. She was well clear of second place Italian Francesca Porcellato in 7minutes 47.8 seconds.
"I was a bit slower down the hill this year and I actually touched my brakes a couple of times" said Shelly, "I was third at the half way stage but the climb is where I make this race my own and I am thrilled to have crossed the finish line in first place for the second year running.
Surprise late entrant, Sarah Loughran from Redcar finished in third place.
Dame Tanni Grey Thompson who has taken part in all 6 Tunnel 2K races, finished in 4th position. She said, "There's nothing like this race anywhere else in the world for sheer speed on the downhill and sheer pain on the uphill. I just love it, although to be honest, I won't miss the uphill.
Race promoter David Burdus, said: "The GEZE Tunnel 2K International is a modern classic. We have the world's best athletes on a unique course. Achieving speeds of nearly 50mph with only a thin sheet of canvas separating your backside from tunnel tarmac is one hell of an adrenaline rush but you need it for what comes next - the 'killer climb'. This is wheelchair racing at the extreme and definitely not for the faint hearted!"
Burdus made special mention of up and coming Paralympic hopeful, Mickey Bushell, from Telford, Shropshire. "Watch out for Mickey", said Burdus, "He finished 10th in a field of 21 men - that is quite an achievement for a 17 year old".