PHOTO: The Historic Leyburn Sprints organisers have begun planning for the 25th anniversary meeting on 21-22 August next year (Credit: Trapnell Creations)
LEYBURN (Queensland) - One of Australia’s most popular grass-roots motorsport events, the Historic Leyburn Sprints, has begun planning for its 25th anniversary next August after a Covid-enforced layoff this year.
The round-the-houses Sprints on Queensland’s southern Darling Downs will be staged on 21-22 August, celebrating the 25th running since its founding in 1996 and 72 years since the little bush town hosted the 1949 Australian Grand Prix.
A Legends Dinner featuring many Australian motorsport stars of the 60s, 70s and 80s will be the highlight of a packed weekend expected to attract around 15,000 spectators and more than 200 historic and classic racing cars.
Historic Leyburn Sprints President Tricia Chant said extra venue facilities were being planned to accommodate a surge in attendance after Covid-19 denied fans the opportunity to visit this year.
“Southern Downs Regional Council has provided a $5000 Community Grant, which we’ll use to build new bench seating around the precinct and bar facilities,” she said.
“We’re also developing an elevated VIP viewing platform and will be opening a new VIP camping area beside the Sprint-course starting line.
“Because of Leyburn’s location (60 kms north-west of Warwick) and lack of much fixed accommodation, thousands of visitors choose to camp and the new VIP area will be a valuable addition to our capacity.”
Campsite bookings are expected to open around March.
Mrs Chant said the Sprints had received a further annual grant of $25,000 through the Queensland Government’s Queensland Destination Events Program to help promote one of the region’s most important tourism drawcards, which was the Queensland Motorsport Event of the Year in 2017.
The Sprints are run by a community committee and annual proceeds are donated to local organisations and projects.
“The effects of a long drought and then Covid-19 restrictions have put a heavy strain on our little rural community and the Sprints are so important to us. The resident population is only around 400, so the town comes alive every August.
“We can’t wait to again welcome competitors and spectators from far and wide for our 25th anniversary party and the best grassroots motorsport event in the country,” Mrs Chant said.
The Queensland Government’s Queensland Destination Events Program and the Southern Downs Regional Council provide financial assistance to help promote the Sprints and attract visitors to the Southern Downs region.