THE Historic Leyburn Sprints has a new outright champion after New South Wales driver Dean Amos broke the track record at the 19th annual time trials last weekend.

Amos, from Lismore, put his 1997 Gould-Judd V8 open-wheeler around the one-kilometre street course in 44.404 seconds, slashing almost half a second off the mark set last year by three-time winner Warwick Hutchinson.

Amos, Neil Lewis in a DBF1 racer and Hutchinson duelled throughout the second day on a dry track. However, Hutchinson was hampered by having no aerodynamic aids on his car after damaging the nose wing when he over-shot a corner on the wet track on Saturday.

"I was pretty committed on my last run, but I had to watch out for those hay bales," Amos said when accepting the Col Furness Memorial Trophy for outright fastest time.

"I've been driving the car since 2013 after I came out of karting and this is the first time I've beaten Warwick.

"It's nice to put my name on the board and I'll be back for sure next year – we love coming here."

Almost 200 historic, classic and performance cars took to the track, ignoring light rain that made the surface slippery for much of Saturday. Several cars found the hay-bale safety barriers, but there were no injuries or major damage.

The fastest Historic entry among a total of 51 classes was the 1967 Bowin-Hay V8 of David Cross, the time of 50.21 sec. also good enough for 11th fastest overall.

There were plenty of other attractions for spectators beside the chase for outright and class honours.

Rally driver Stewart Reid thrilled crowds on Saturday with some blazing runs in a 600 horsepower Audi quattro S1 Group B replica, while Queensland racing legend and Bathurst 1000 winner John French, now 83, was reunited on the starting line with three of his former race cars, a 1962 Turner-Ford, 1967 MG Midget lightweight and 1962 Centaur Waggott GT.

Showing he had lost little of his skill, French put down a competitive time of 56.646 sec. in a borrowed Subaru Impreza WRX.

More than 100 cars entered the Shannons Show 'n' Shine, won outright by a 1960 Chrysler Windsor 300.

The inaugural Retro Caravan Show Off drew 22 entrants, big interest from spectators and an organisers' promise for an even bigger show in 2015.

Sprints President Ann Collins said organisers were happy to welcome a big crowd, despite threatening weather on Saturday.

"Nothing seems to dampen the enthusiasm of spectators and competitors for the Historic Leyburn Sprints," Mrs Collins said.

"The 19th Sprints were another great year with great cars, great competition and a unique grassroots atmosphere. Next year will be our 20th anniversary and we're already planning some special celebrations around the commemoration of the 1949 Leyburn Australian Grand Prix."

The community-run, not-for-profit Historic Leyburn Sprints are supported through Tourism and Events Queensland's Regional Development Program as part of a growing calendar of events across the State, plus the Southern Downs Regional Council.


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