PHOTOS: (Left, CAMS pic) Colin Bond accepts his Hall of Fame award; (right, Garry O'Brien pic) The Caltex-sponsored Alfa Romeo 75 was one of many cars Colin Bond drove during an impressive 30-year career.
LEYBURN (Queensland) - CELEBRITIES from a golden era of motorsport, including multiple champion Colin Bond, will help celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Australian Grand Prix at the Historic Leyburn Sprints on the Queensland Darling Downs in August.
A veteran of three decades of racing, rallying and rallycross, Bond will make his first visit to the annual Sprints, which will be staged on a 1.0 kilometre street course around the village of Leyburn for the 24th time on 17-18 August.
Organisers also have confirmed the attendance of prominent Queensland driver of the 60s and 70s Bill Gates, who will come out of a long retirement to drive a Ford Escort.
Sprints Founder and Race Director Mike Collins said negotiations were in progress to bring a number of other popular drivers representing the 60s, 70s and 80s to the event.
“As one of Australia’s premier grassroots historic motorsport events, the Leyburn Sprints is keen to bring spectators a special experience this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the 1949 Australian Grand Prix,” he said.
“Colin Bond is a legend of the sport with a long list of titles to his credit and experience in a huge variety of cars. Bill Gates, though less known outside Queensland, was an extremely quick driver who competed at the highest level in cars including Elfin, Lotus and Falcon GT.
“Some other great names are preparing to come to Leyburn and I can assure them their experience of our unique little event will be as enjoyable as the fans will enjoy meeting their heroes of yesteryear.”
The community-run Historic Leyburn Sprints celebrates the running of the Australian Grand Prix on an ex-wartime airstrip just outside the tiny town, 60kms west of Warwick. The GP was won by John Crouch, driving a Delahaye in front of a crowd estimated at 30,000.
Colin Bond, now 77, is renowned as one of Australia’s most talented and versatile drivers.
Among other achievements, he won three Australian Rally Championships, the Australian Touring Car Championship, two South Pacific Touring Car Championships, the international Southern Cross Rally and the 1969 Hardie Ferodo 500. He was part of the historic 1-2 finish for Alan Moffatt’s Ford Dealer Team in the 1977 Bathurst 1000.
Bond started racing in 1965 and retired in 1994. He was inducted to the Supercars Hall of Fame in 2002.
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.