THEY’RE possibly the Leyburn Sprints first international drivers and it’s difficult to imagine they could have travelled further for this weekend’s event.
Ralph Christensson and Magnus Widen hail from Stockholm, Sweden. They’re racing tragics and how they got here is a story of the friendships that racing breeds.
The pair recently contested the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado. Christensson piloted his 1967 600 horsepower Ford Mustang GT350-R to victory in the Vintage class, setting a course record and the Mustang record as well.
He was followed into second place by Pikes Peak rookie Widen in a near-identical 1965 car.
Both cars wore the yellow and black livery of the drivers’ Los Vikingos team.
How did they get to a tiny country town in Australia?
Christensson, Leyburn Race Director Mike Collins and Brisbane driver Jim Hodgson have been mates since they met at Pikes Peak a couple of years ago.
In 2011, the Swede drove the Mustang that Collins purchased and ran up the famous mountain the year after.
That same red ’65 coupe, number 87, will run at Leyburn this weekend, with Christensson down as relief driver for Mike Collins.
Christensson also will drive car 180, a white ’68 Transam Mustang plus Collins’ 1968 Commodore AUSCAR, number 91.
Widen will be lining up in a yellow RS200 Ford Escort, number 118, entered for them by Collins.
Proving that motorsport camaraderie has no barriers and that the reputation of the historic Leyburn Sprints has spread far and wide, these drivers have literally travelled halfway around the world to compete here.
Give them a big welcome!