Submitted by David Burbus, promoter for Josh Cassidy
In a major break with tradition, The North East England Tyne Tunnels are being renamed for the first time in their history during September 2012 as a tribute to the world’s best wheelchair athletes. Today, the southbound tunnel was named “Josh Cassidy”.
In the run up to the annual Tyne Tunnel 2K International wheelchair race, which takes place this year on the evening of Friday 14th September, both the northbound and southbound vehicle tunnels will be dedicated to previous and forthcoming T2k athletes to celebrate their global sporting achievements. The tunnels have never been known as anything other than the Tyne Tunnels during their lifetimes.
TT2’s Chief Executive Officer, Rachel Turnbull, explained the reason for the new tunnel dedications:
“We are immensely proud of the annual Tyne Tunnel 2K wheelchair race. It is a world class event that allows the very best international wheelchair athletes to show off their talents right here on Tyneside.
“We’re really looking forward to hosting this year’s race, with many of the athletes arriving fresh from the London Paralympics. This will be their first chance to showcase their competitive abilities after the Games, and it’s fantastic that the Tyne Tunnels will be the venue.
“To celebrate the incredible achievements of our TT2K athletes in the run up to this year’s race, we have decided to dedicate each vehicle tunnel, on a rolling basis, to our TT2K athletic stars. We hope that it will raise awareness of our wheelchair race, and get people thinking about what it would take to propel yourself through one of the tunnels in a wheelchair. It’s an immensely challenging course, and we hope that this will help people to gain some appreciation of what the race involves.”
“Josh has won the Tyne Tunnel 2K International wheel chair race three times (2008, 2010, 2011). In 2011 Josh set the fastest downhill speed record in the new Tyne tunnel and 56 mph.”
“We’ve had such a positive public response to this campaign, which is intended to celebrate the incredible abilities of our T2K athletes. Almost 50,000 motorists a day will drive through the renamed tunnels, which we think is a fantastic way of letting people know just how great these athletes are.
“Josh has gone out of his way to support the TT2K wheelchair race over the years, so this is the least we can do in return.”
Each vehicle tunnel has been named after different athletes from 31st August 2012, until 9th September 2012 through use of the Tyne Tunnel electronic display boards, with updates online at www.tt2.co.uk
or via Twitter @TT2Limited
The 2012 T2K wheelchair race will take place on the evening of Friday 14th September. The Tyne Tunnel 2k is a two kilometre course that starts at the Jarrow junction of the tunnels, in South Tyneside, travels through the 1967-built northbound vehicle tunnel, and finishes at the toll plazas north of the River Tyne. It is the only event that TT2 closes the tunnel for, and is described by competitors as “the fastest race on the planet”.