HUGE FIELD READY FOR 20TH HISTORIC SPRINTS

A HUGE field of 230 cars spanning 100 years of motoring has entered for the 20th annual Historic Leyburn Sprints.

The classic and high-performance entries range from a 1925 Austin roadster to a 2015 sports car called an RSS and represent every decade in between except the 1940s.

The round-the-houses time trials mark the 20th year since the community of the small Darling Downs village created an event to commemorate the running of the 1949 Australian Grand Prix on a disused wartime airstrip nearby.

This year the event also pays tribute to the late Sir Jack Brabham, who won the Queensland Road Racing Championship on the bush circuit in his Cooper-Bristol four years later.

Leyburn has become one of Australia’s longest-running and best-known grassroots racing events, with proceeds being returned to community organisations and projects.

Cars race one at a time against the clock in 55 classes covering sports, racing and touring cars. With seven runs per car across Saturday and Sunday, spectators will enjoy non-stop action.

Competition is expected to be closest for the outright fastest time – awarded with the Col Furness memorial trophy - with 10 starters in the Formula Libre racing car class including 2014 winner Dean Amos in a Judd Formula 1 V8-powered Gould and 2012-13 winner Warwick Hutchinson in a rotary-powered Van Diemen.

Dean Tighe and Michael Von Rappard will drive Dallara Formula 3 open-wheelers, while three-time Australian Gold Star champion and Malaysian Grand Prix winner Paul Stokell will make his Leyburn debut in a Radical sports car.

Not all the attractions will be competition for trophies, or even on-track.

Retired touring car ace Barry “Bo” Seton will be among nine well-known racing personalities honoured at an inaugural Legends Dinner on Saturday night at the Royal Hotel.

Sharing the driving with his 16-year-old grandson Aaron, 78-year-old Seton also will make demonstration runs in one of the Ford Capri touring cars that earned him fame in the 70s.

Another famous car from the era making its track return will be the Mildren-Waggott single-seater known as the Yellow Submarine. In the hands of champion drivers including Frank Gardner and Kevin Bartlett, the Mildren competed in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and Macau and recorded many victories.

After a recent restoration, it will be driven on demonstration runs by Bruce Ayers, son of the late Queensland sports and racing car competitor Lionel Ayers.

Two other spectacular and renowned cars will be Tasmanian Dave Thompson’s 1992 “Godzilla” Nissan Skyline R32 and 1991 Audi quattro S1 Group B rally replica.

The Legends Dinner will honour drivers Seton, Stokell, John French, Bruce Allison, Bob Holden, John English, Brian Michelmore and Jim Bertram and Lakeside circuit promoter David Harding.


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