THE Leyburn Sprints have won renewed financial support from the State Government’s events organisation to help promote its historic motorsport weekend next month.

The Sprints will receive $20,000 from the Events Queensland Regional Development Program (EQRDP), assisting it to market the event in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Now in its 17th year as a round-the-houses time trial in the normally peaceful village of Leyburn, the Sprints celebrates the running of the 1949 Australian Grand Prix on a nearby ex-wartime airstrip.

Organisers expect around 200 racing, sports and touring cars, invited on the basis of their historic provenance or appeal, to race against the clock in front of several thousand spectators.

The former gold-mining village, 220 kms south-west of Brisbane, comes alive for the Sprints as competitors and spectators set up for the weekend in the campground, in residents’ front yards and at the roadside.

The Royal Hotel, Queensland's oldest continuously-licensed pub, which is located close to the starting line and where the host is retired Broncos rugby league player Shane Webcke, is the event’s social hub.

Proceeds from the not-for-profit Sprints benefit local community groups and projects, many of which assist in the event’s preparation and operation.

The Sprints also has nominated Ovarian Cancer Australia and RACQ Careflight Rescue as its official charity for 2012.

Organising committee President Ann Collins said the EQRDP grant was a valuable contribution to the Leyburn Sprints’ continued growth.

“We are very appreciative of receiving the assistance of Events Queensland for a further year,” Mrs Collins said.

“The Sprints are an important and popular community event in a region of the State where there are relatively few opportunities for grassroots motorsport enjoyment, either as a spectator or competitor.

“In addition, the Sprints have become one of Australia’s longest-running annual events for historic and classic motorsport. The funding we have received from Events Queensland has helped ensure this longevity and continued growth, bringing many thousands of visitors to this little town over the years.

“The Sprints also helps to preserve the rich history of people, cars and events in Australian motor racing, in which Leyburn played such a significant part as host of the 1949 Australian Grand Prix.”

The Events Queensland Regional Development Program (EQRDP) is designed to extend the flow of economic and social benefits of events to regional Queensland. In collaboration with local councils and Regional Tourism Organisations, the EQRDP supports a diverse portfolio of events which help to attract a continuous stream of interstate and international visitors to Queensland while also raising the profile of the State nationally and overseas, encouraging future tourism and investment. Events Queensland has created the most comprehensive portfolio of supported events of any State in Australia, with more than $20 million invested through the EQRDP across 918 events since 2001.


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