Leyburn Sprints President Tricia Chant receives the CAMS Queensland Motor Sport Event of the Year award from MG Car Club of Queensland Secretary Malcolm Spiden (Pic by Ian Welsh, Shifting Focus)

PHOTO: Leyburn Sprints President Tricia Chant receives the CAMS Queensland Motor Sport Event of the Year award from MG Car Club of Queensland Secretary Malcolm Spiden (Pic by Ian Welsh, Shifting Focus)

LEYBURN (Queensland) - The annual Historic Leyburn Sprints, which celebrates the 1949 Australian Grand Prix, has been named the Queensland Motor Sport Event of the Year.

The win was announced at the CAMS State Motor Sport Awards in Brisbane on Friday night.

The community-run Sprints attracts more than 200 historic, classic and late-model performance cars and up to 15,000 spectators every year to compete on a closed street course in the tiny Darling Downs town.

Since its founding in 1996, the community-organised event has raised tens of thousands of dollars for local groups and projects.

The award was accepted by Sprints President Tricia Chant, who said the event embodied the best of grassroots motorsport.

“It’s wonderful to receive the CAMS Queensland Motor Sport Event of the Year award because it rewards the efforts of thousands of volunteer workers and officials over more than two decades,” Mrs Chant said.

“Together, the visiting competitors and spectators deliver a substantial economic benefit to not only Leyburn but also across the Southern Downs region.”

The Sprints celebrate the running of the 1949 Australian Grand Prix on an ex-wartime airfield just outside the township.

Founded by a community committee led by local racer, businessman and now Race Director Mike Collins, they have earned a reputation as one of Australia’s most enjoyable historic motorsport events.

“The CAMS Motor Sport Event of the Year Award is a tribute to the many, many enthusiastic competitors who have trekked to Leyburn with an incredible variety of cars from all over Australia and given the Historic Leyburn Sprints a unique character,” Mr Collins said.

Tourism and Events Queensland’s Queensland Destination Events Program and Southern Downs Regional Council provide financial assistance to help promote the Sprints and attract visitors to the Southern Downs region.