An inquest has opened into the deaths of two of the country’s top downhill mountain bike racers who were killed in a car crash.

Saltaire-based Tom Rodgers, 21, and his friend, 18-year-old Ben Ineson, died when their Peugeot 306 crashed into a wall and hedge on the A65 at Long Preston. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene.

North Yorkshire Police confirmed that an inquest had been opened and adjourned.

Mr Rodgers, of Langcliffe, near Skipton, worked for All Terrain Cycles for four years at Cross Hills, near Keighley, and after its move to Salts Mill.

Ben, of Selside, near Settle, was the top-ranked British junior in his sport and came 24th at last year’s World Cup round in Schladming, Austria He had recently been signed up to ride for the Astrix Europe team.

Chris Papworth, of Astrix Europe, said: “We extend our deepest and sincerest thoughts to Ben’s and Tom’s family and friends.”

Police said Mr Rodgers was driving the car which crashed at 1.30pm on Wednesday.

Anyone who saw the car should contact Traffic Constable Mark Tiffany at on 0845 6060 247.