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The Sabakat started its life as a 1957 Lotus 12 before being spirited to Australia in the fuselage of a plane (Pic: nzpeterb on Flickr)

PHOTO: The Sabakat started its life as a 1957 Lotus 12 before being spirited to Australia in the fuselage of a plane (Pic: nzpeterb on Flickr)

LEYBURN (Queensland) - It was disguised under the name Sabakat and around 60 years ago had a decidedly racy history, but now one of the first Lotus competition cars is returning home to the Darling Downs for its debut in the Historic Leyburn Sprints next month.

The appearance of the 1957 single-seater among more than 200 historic, classic and performance cars entered for the 23rd annual Sprints on 18-19 August will revive stories of its alleged smuggling into Australia, grand prix history, a spectacularly fiery demise and eventual re-creation.

The Sabakat, to be driven by owner Mike Gosbell, is a Lotus 12, the model that launched the British manufacturer’s first foray into Formula 1 and Formula 2 racing in 1957.

Tom Brelsford, 15, will race for the Ann Collins Memorial Trophy in his Ford Escort at the 2018 Historic Leyburn Sprints (Trapnell Creations pic)

PHOTO: Tom Brelsford, 15, will race for the Ann Collins Memorial Trophy in his Ford Escort at the 2018 Historic Leyburn Sprints (Trapnell Creations pic)

LEYBURN (Queensland) - The Historic Leyburn Sprints, one of Australia’s favourite classic motorsport events, will use its heritage to help boost the careers of the youngest racing drivers at this year’s 23rd event in August.

From this year, the Sprints will award the perpetual Ann Collins Memorial Trophy for the fastest driver aged 16 and under on the 1.0 kilometre street course.

The award will honour the former President of the Sprints organising committee Ann Collins, who passed away earlier this year leaving a legacy of strong commitment to the community-run event and to the futures of young people.

“Ann was the inaugural President of the Sprints organising committee and a tireless worker in the small community of Leyburn. Coming from a racing family, she particularly had an interest in encouraging young drivers to enter motorsport as a healthy, positive activity with strong family values and a pro-active approach to everyday road safety,”current President Tricia Chant said.

“She would be thrilled to know the Ann Collins Memorial Trophy has been created to promote the values she believed in.”

The 23rd Historic Leyburn Sprints on 18-19 August will feature more than 200 historic, classic and performance cars representing more than 90 years of motoring (Pic by Trapnell Creations)

PHOTO: The 23rd Historic Leyburn Sprints on 18-19 August will feature more than 200 historic, classic and performance cars representing more than 90 years of motoring (Pic by Trapnell Creations)

LEYBURN (Queensland) - Queensland's Motor Sport Event of the Year, the Historic Leyburn Sprints, has been given increased funding to boost regional tourism under the Tourism and Events Queensland’s (TEQ) Queensland Destination Events Program (QDEP).

The $25,000 funding, up from $20,000 last year, continues TEQ’s long-standing support of the popular, round-the-houses time trials, which will be staged for the 23rd time this year on 18-19 August.

The money will be used for marketing and promotion aimed at attracting more spectators to the event and the Southern Queensland Country host region.

Leyburn Sprints President Tricia Chant receives the CAMS Queensland Motor Sport Event of the Year award from MG Car Club of Queensland Secretary Malcolm Spiden (Pic by Ian Welsh, Shifting Focus)

PHOTO: Leyburn Sprints President Tricia Chant receives the CAMS Queensland Motor Sport Event of the Year award from MG Car Club of Queensland Secretary Malcolm Spiden (Pic by Ian Welsh, Shifting Focus)

LEYBURN (Queensland) - The annual Historic Leyburn Sprints, which celebrates the 1949 Australian Grand Prix, has been named the Queensland Motor Sport Event of the Year.

The win was announced at the CAMS State Motor Sport Awards in Brisbane on Friday night.

The community-run Sprints attracts more than 200 historic, classic and late-model performance cars and up to 15,000 spectators every year to compete on a closed street course in the tiny Darling Downs town.

Since its founding in 1996, the community-organised event has raised tens of thousands of dollars for local groups and projects.

Dean Amos (left) and David Cross race to their respective victories at the 2017 Historic Leyburn Sprints. (by Trapnell Creations)

PHOTO (by Trapnell Creations): Dean Amos (left) and David Cross race to their respective victories at the 2017 Historic Leyburn Sprints.

Defending champion Dean Amos slashed almost two seconds off his own lap record to claim a fourth straight outright title at the 22nd Historic Leyburn Sprints at the weekend.

The Lismore-based racer set a time of 40.5651 sec. in a Gould GR55B single-seater on the sixth of seven runs against the clock around a one-kilometre street course in the Darling Downs township of Leyburn, around 200 kilometres west of Brisbane.

Winning the Col Furness Memorial Trophy, Amos became the second most successful Sprints competitor after Toowoomba’s Ray Vandersee, who has won six times. The Sprints celebrate the 1949 running of the Australian Grand Prix on a disused wartime aerodrome just outside Leyburn.