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Dean Amos (left) and David Cross race to their respective victories at the 2017 Historic Leyburn Sprints. (by Trapnell Creations)

PHOTO (by Trapnell Creations): Dean Amos (left) and David Cross race to their respective victories at the 2017 Historic Leyburn Sprints.

Defending champion Dean Amos slashed almost two seconds off his own lap record to claim a fourth straight outright title at the 22nd Historic Leyburn Sprints at the weekend.

The Lismore-based racer set a time of 40.5651 sec. in a Gould GR55B single-seater on the sixth of seven runs against the clock around a one-kilometre street course in the Darling Downs township of Leyburn, around 200 kilometres west of Brisbane.

Winning the Col Furness Memorial Trophy, Amos became the second most successful Sprints competitor after Toowoomba’s Ray Vandersee, who has won six times. The Sprints celebrate the 1949 running of the Australian Grand Prix on a disused wartime aerodrome just outside Leyburn.

Dean Amos’s Gould GR55B V8 aims to set a new record at the 2017 Historic Leyburn Sprints.

PHOTO: Dean Amos’s Gould GR55B V8 aims to set a new record at the 2017 Historic Leyburn Sprints.

Defending champion Dean Amos will debut the fastest car seen at the Historic Leyburn Sprints when he attempts to win a fourth straight outright title at the event’s 22nd annual edition this weekend.

The Lismore-based racer has replaced his familiar Gould GR37 single-seater with a newer Gould GR55B and hopes to beat his record of 42.5447 seconds for the 1.0 kilometre round-the-houses street course - as well as his rivals.

With 650 horsepower (485 kiloWatts) from an Indycar-based McLaren-Nicholson V8 engine and weighing just 450 kilograms – less than a third that of a typical family sedan – the English-built Gould will be a handful around Leyburn’s tight turns, Amos predicts.

“I’ve only driven it twice and I’m still getting used to it. You definitely know you’re alive when you drive it - everything happens so quickly. You have to be super-accurate and even a small bump can throw it off line.”

Amos says the shoot-out style nature of the Sprints, where cars make six or seven individual runs against the clock, will increase the pressure as the weekend progresses.

MG TB single-seater from the 1949 Australian Grand Prix

PHOTO: MG TB single-seater from the 1949 Australian Grand Prix

A little pre-war car that once tried to win Australia’s biggest motor race will return as a star of the 22nd Historic Leyburn Sprints on 19-20 August.

Already 10 years old, the MG TB single-seater driven by Jack Nind retired with engine failure during the 1949 Australian Grand Prix at Leyburn, the biggest event in the history of the tiny Darling Downs town and a forerunner of the modern-day Formula 1 race in Melbourne.

After contesting three other Australian Grands Prix and many other events over the years, the MG will take another run at a Leyburn win in the annual round-the-houses Sprints alongside more than 200 other historic, classic and performance cars.

It is owned by Colin Schiller of Cambooya, near Leyburn, and will be raced by his daughter Belinda.

Sprints President Tricia Chant says the MG’s appearance helps maintain the traditional connection between the event and the 1949 grand prix.

THE Historic Leyburn Sprints has been awarded fresh funding of $20,000 under the Tourism and Events Queensland’s (TEQ) Queensland Destination Events Program (QDEP).

The funding, which continues TEQ’s support after the previous three-year support package, will be used to help grow the event through increased marketing.

The 22nd Historic Leyburn Sprints will be on 19-20 August next year.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said $535,000 had been awarded to 21 events, including Leyburn.

LEY16-from left Sprints President Tricia Chant Leyburn Police officer in charge Steve Gibbs Sprints Treasurer John Hall

PHOTO: (From left) Sprints President Tricia Chant, Leyburn Police Officer in Charge Steve Gibbs and Sprints Treasurer John Hall at the $3500 cheque handover to the Blue Light Association.

THE Historic Leyburn Sprints has donated part of the proceeds from its 2016 event to help children in the Darling Downs town.

Organising committee President Tricia Chant and Treasurer John Hall presented a cheque for $3600 to the Leyburn branch of the Queensland Police Blue Light Association.