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 Sprints, which celebrate the 1949 Australian Grand Prix, have already attracted the first two contenders for the Ann Collins Memorial Trophy, Tom Brelsford and Brynn Stewart

A talented 15-year-old karter, Stewart will pilot his Holden Gemini coupe around the Leyburn streets for the first time. He has won the Junior Track Championships at Ipswich City Dirt Kart Club and finished on the podium last year in the Qld Auskart Championship.

His Gemini has won many races and titles in the hands of Kris Walton and the Wilson Brothers Race Team.

Brelsford, also 15, competed in his first Leyburn Sprints event last year.

With a new motor in his Ford Escort, he can’t wait to hit the street track again.

“Leyburn is an awesome, challenging track and constantly keeps the heart racing. The atmosphere is electric and it is definitely the highlight of my year,” Tom said.

Entry applications to compete in the 2018 Historic Leyburn Sprints close on 13 July. More than 200 historic, classic and performance cars from as far away as North Queensland and South Australia are expected to race against the clock for the Col Furness Memorial Trophy for outright fastest time and awards in a wide range of classes.

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.