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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.

Dean Amos’s Gould GR55B V8 aims to set a new record at the 2017 Historic Leyburn Sprints.

PHOTO: Dean Amos’s Gould GR55B V8 aims to set a new record at the 2017 Historic Leyburn Sprints.

Defending champion Dean Amos will debut the fastest car seen at the Historic Leyburn Sprints when he attempts to win a fourth straight outright title at the event’s 22nd annual edition this weekend.

The Lismore-based racer has replaced his familiar Gould GR37 single-seater with a newer Gould GR55B and hopes to beat his record of 42.5447 seconds for the 1.0 kilometre round-the-houses street course - as well as his rivals.

With 650 horsepower (485 kiloWatts) from an Indycar-based McLaren-Nicholson V8 engine and weighing just 450 kilograms – less than a third that of a typical family sedan – the English-built Gould will be a handful around Leyburn’s tight turns, Amos predicts.

“I’ve only driven it twice and I’m still getting used to it. You definitely know you’re alive when you drive it - everything happens so quickly. You have to be super-accurate and even a small bump can throw it off line.”

Amos says the shoot-out style nature of the Sprints, where cars make six or seven individual runs against the clock, will increase the pressure as the weekend progresses.