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The 1954 Wolseley Flying W Special of Eric Cossiche from South Australia

PHOTO: The 1954 Wolseley Flying W Special of Eric Cossiche from South Australia represents the heritage of home-built Australian racing cars at next weekend’s Historic Leyburn Sprints

LEYBURN (Queensland) - When the Historic Leyburn Sprints roars into action next weekend it will celebrate not only the time the Darling Downs village hosted the Australian Grand Prix but also the ingenious home-built cars that helped revive Australian motor-racing after World War 2.

The entry list of 28 cars at the 1949 grand prix included 19 described as “Specials” - either roadgoing models lightened of superfluous bodywork or ground-up creations using combinations of secondhand parts. Their expensive imported rivals included two Bugattis, the winning Delahaye, a Jaguar and several MGs.

Virtually all the “Australian Specials” were constructed by enthusiasts with either limited funds or skills, but made up in speed what they lacked in style.

An Audi quattro S1 Group B rally car and 820-horsepower Ford Falcon GT will be offering thrilling rides to spectators at the historic Leyburn Sprints (Trapnel Creations pics)

PHOTOS: An Audi quattro S1 Group B rally car and 820-horsepower Ford Falcon GT will be offering thrilling rides to spectators at the historic Leyburn Sprints (Trapnel Creations pics)

LEYBURN (Queensland) - Can you imagine riding in a McLaren or Lotus sports car, an Audi quattro rally beast, an 820 horsepower Falcon GT or even an ex-police pursuit drag racer? Some lucky spectators are in for the experience of a lifetime as winners of an amazing competition at the Historic Leyburn Sprints next month.

Raffles to win passenger “hot laps” in these rare and exotic cars on the Leyburn 1.0-kilometre street course will be held throughout the 18-19 August Sprints weekend.

Sprints President Tricia Chant says the event’s traditional ride raffle has been upgraded into a major spectator attraction this year.

“For the price of a $5 ticket, we’re offering Sprints spectators the unique chance to ride in some truly incredible cars. I can’t think of another event in the country that offers an experience like this and I’d like to thank the drivers for making their cars available,”Mrs Chant said.

WIN Hot Laps in some classic MUSCLE

(Click the above poster for a larger version)

The Sabakat started its life as a 1957 Lotus 12 before being spirited to Australia in the fuselage of a plane (Pic: nzpeterb on Flickr)

PHOTO: The Sabakat started its life as a 1957 Lotus 12 before being spirited to Australia in the fuselage of a plane (Pic: nzpeterb on Flickr)

LEYBURN (Queensland) - It was disguised under the name Sabakat and around 60 years ago had a decidedly racy history, but now one of the first Lotus competition cars is returning home to the Darling Downs for its debut in the Historic Leyburn Sprints next month.

The appearance of the 1957 single-seater among more than 200 historic, classic and performance cars entered for the 23rd annual Sprints on 18-19 August will revive stories of its alleged smuggling into Australia, grand prix history, a spectacularly fiery demise and eventual re-creation.

The Sabakat, to be driven by owner Mike Gosbell, is a Lotus 12, the model that launched the British manufacturer’s first foray into Formula 1 and Formula 2 racing in 1957.

Tom Brelsford, 15, will race for the Ann Collins Memorial Trophy in his Ford Escort at the 2018 Historic Leyburn Sprints (Trapnell Creations pic)

PHOTO: Tom Brelsford, 15, will race for the Ann Collins Memorial Trophy in his Ford Escort at the 2018 Historic Leyburn Sprints (Trapnell Creations pic)

LEYBURN (Queensland) - The Historic Leyburn Sprints, one of Australia’s favourite classic motorsport events, will use its heritage to help boost the careers of the youngest racing drivers at this year’s 23rd event in August.

From this year, the Sprints will award the perpetual Ann Collins Memorial Trophy for the fastest driver aged 16 and under on the 1.0 kilometre street course.

The award will honour the former President of the Sprints organising committee Ann Collins, who passed away earlier this year leaving a legacy of strong commitment to the community-run event and to the futures of young people.

“Ann was the inaugural President of the Sprints organising committee and a tireless worker in the small community of Leyburn. Coming from a racing family, she particularly had an interest in encouraging young drivers to enter motorsport as a healthy, positive activity with strong family values and a pro-active approach to everyday road safety,”current President Tricia Chant said.

“She would be thrilled to know the Ann Collins Memorial Trophy has been created to promote the values she believed in.”

The 23rd Historic Leyburn Sprints on 18-19 August will feature more than 200 historic, classic and performance cars representing more than 90 years of motoring (Pic by Trapnell Creations)

PHOTO: The 23rd Historic Leyburn Sprints on 18-19 August will feature more than 200 historic, classic and performance cars representing more than 90 years of motoring (Pic by Trapnell Creations)

LEYBURN (Queensland) - Queensland's Motor Sport Event of the Year, the Historic Leyburn Sprints, has been given increased funding to boost regional tourism under the Tourism and Events Queensland’s (TEQ) Queensland Destination Events Program (QDEP).

The $25,000 funding, up from $20,000 last year, continues TEQ’s long-standing support of the popular, round-the-houses time trials, which will be staged for the 23rd time this year on 18-19 August.

The money will be used for marketing and promotion aimed at attracting more spectators to the event and the Southern Queensland Country host region.