An AC Cobra and Monaro racing in the streets of Leyburn (Credit: Trapnell Creations)

PHOTO: The Historic Leyburn Sprints is a true round-the-houses event on a challenging 1.0 kilometre course (Credit: Trapnell Creations)

FAST FACTS:

  • Sat 11 Sept-Sun 12 September
  • Competition starts 8am both days (gates open 7am)
  • Adults $20 day, $30 weekend, Under 14 FREE
  • Parking, free on-street
  • Travel: Approx. 60 kms from Warwick, 220 kms from Brisbane

LEYBURN (Queensland) - More than two years after its last event, the Historic Leyburn Sprints will return this weekend with a welcome boost for Queensland’s Southern Darling Downs.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary as a commemoration of the 1949 Australian Grand Prix at Leyburn, the Sprints is expected to deliver the region up 16,000 visitors over Saturday and Sunday, including more than 300 car owners in events on- and off-track.

Community volunteer workers are completing construction of the venue and the 1.0 kilometre street course through the little town – usual population, around 400 - confident of avoiding any Covid-19 impact after the cancellation of the 2020 event and three-week postponement from this year’s original date.

“We’ve worked so hard to make sure it gets to the starting line this weekend. Covid protection measures will be place, but apart from losing a handful of interstate competitors the pandemic has had virtually no impact on the show we plan to put on,” said Sprints organising committee President Tricia Chant.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming many supporters from all over south-east Queensland and beyond who regard the Sprints as an annual highlight.

“It also means so much to the Southern Downs region and especially the local community. Since the Historic Leyburn Sprints was launched in 1996, it’s estimated to have contributed around $1 million to local organisations and projects through direct involvement and donations.

“We also believe the wider economic impact of the Sprints is around $1.5 million per event. That means so much in these challenging times.”

With little fixed accommodation in the former gold-mining centre, thousands of competitors and spectators camp over the weekend in “pit lane” or beside Canal Creek, creating a party atmosphere and packing the Royal Hotel, RSL Club, general store and post office shop.

Publican Shane Toy is looking forward to his 1863-licensed watering hole again being the social hub, replete for patrons with a unique view out front of racing cars waiting for their timed runs.

Classic race cars line up outside the Royal Hotel, also on show will be Vintage Caravans (Credit: Trapnell Creations)

PHOTO: Royal Hotel patrons' unique view of cars awaiting their runs and the Vintage Van display are part of the colourful atmosphere at the Historic Leyburn Sprints (Credit: Trapnell Creations)

“The Sprints bring the town alive. It’s a wonderful atmosphere,” he said.

“The heritage and spirit of the grand prix are still alive among the current competitors and the town welcomes them and the spectators with true country hospitality.”

While time trials for historic, classic and late-model performance cars are the Sprints centrepiece, other attractions will include vintage caravans and Shannons Show ‘n’ Shine displays, country-style markets, a charity auction, fun run, raffles to win hot laps, appearances by the Leyburn Legends drivers including Queensland icon Dick Johnson and helicopter joy flights.

A thundering American NASCAR sedan driven by Australian star Marcos Ambrose to a win at Watkins Glen, New York, and the 99-year-old Wikner Ford Special will be on display and make demonstration runs.

Power TV Australia will live-stream the entire event via its free mobile app and the Sprints website.

The Historic Leyburn Sprints, named Queensland Motor Sport Event of the Year in 2017, is run by community organisations and money generated is returned to local groups and projects.

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. This event also has been proudly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).