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.

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Ron Thorp AC Cobra (Speedcafe pic)

Ron Thorp AC Cobra (Speedcafe pic)

NOT only the cars have stories to tell at the Historic Leyburn Sprints. The event frequently attracts well-known drivers from yesteryears, keen to re-live their experiences, renew friendships and see cars from their era in action.

This year’s guests included Ron Thorp, a driver from the 1960s renowned for his glorious 1964 AC Shelby Cobra 289.

Based in Wollongong, Thorp and the dark green Cobra were familiar sights at circuits and hillclimbs all over Australia. Thorp won the Australian Hillclimb Championship for sports and racing cars in 1965-66-67 before he and the car retired to Inverell to allow him to follow his other passion, flying.

Dean Amos wins his third Leyburn title

PHOTO: Dean Amos wins his third Leyburn title (Credit: Trapnell Creations)

Dick Johnson and John French drive a replica of their 1981 Bathurst 1000 winner

PHOTO: Dick Johnson and John French drive a replica of their 1981 Bathurst 1000 winner (Credit: Trapnell Creations)

DEAN Amos didn't need to get out of second gear to win his third straight Historic Leyburn Sprints outright title in record time at the weekend.

The driver from Lismore NSW rocketed back from a 10-month competition lay-off to cover Leyburn's 1.0 kilometre round-the-houses street course in 42.5447 seconds, lowering his previous best mark by 0.4 sec. on his fifth of seven runs against the clock.

"The car felt fantastic all weekend and I obviously didn't put wheel wrong when it mattered," Amos said.

"My car is suited to these Sprints events. It won the British Hillclimb Championship three times before my dad brought it to Australia. I has a Judd Formula 1 V8 engine. Around Leyburn I don't need to get out of second gear – but that's good for 170 kmh!"

Amos was almost 1.4 sec. faster than his nearest rival, North Queensland's Michael von Rappard, who drove a Formula 3-based Dallara and improved on his own times from 2015.

Bathurst Morris Cooper S

PHOTO: Exactly as it was – a replica of the Morris Cooper S that won Bathurst 50 years ago will be displayed at the Historic Leyburn Sprints.

A TINY car that claimed one of Australia's biggest motor racing victories 50 years ago will be among almost 400 automotive delights for spectators at the 21st annual Historic Leyburn Sprints, which start today.

In 1966, a Morris Cooper S driven by Rauno Aaltonen of Finland and Bob Holden of Australia won the Gallagher 500 race at Bathurst's Mount Panorama circuit, heading home eight more identical Minis in a giant-killing finish that has never been matched.

The winning Mini – in fact, an exact replica – will be on display at Leyburn before it returns to Bathurst to lead a golden anniversary parade before the Bathurst 1000 in October.

While the Bathurst Mini is expected to draw hundreds of admirers, car owner Ian Gillam of Toowoomba will race his second Mini, a near-identical Austin Cooper S version, in the Leyburn time trials on the township's one-kilometre street course.