MG TB single-seater from the 1949 Australian Grand Prix

PHOTO: MG TB single-seater from the 1949 Australian Grand Prix

A little pre-war car that once tried to win Australia’s biggest motor race will return as a star of the 22nd Historic Leyburn Sprints on 19-20 August.

Already 10 years old, the MG TB single-seater driven by Jack Nind retired with engine failure during the 1949 Australian Grand Prix at Leyburn, the biggest event in the history of the tiny Darling Downs town and a forerunner of the modern-day Formula 1 race in Melbourne.

After contesting three other Australian Grands Prix and many other events over the years, the MG will take another run at a Leyburn win in the annual round-the-houses Sprints alongside more than 200 other historic, classic and performance cars.

It is owned by Colin Schiller of Cambooya, near Leyburn, and will be raced by his daughter Belinda.

Sprints President Tricia Chant says the MG’s appearance helps maintain the traditional connection between the event and the 1949 grand prix.

THE Historic Leyburn Sprints has been awarded fresh funding of $20,000 under the Tourism and Events Queensland’s (TEQ) Queensland Destination Events Program (QDEP).

The funding, which continues TEQ’s support after the previous three-year support package, will be used to help grow the event through increased marketing.

The 22nd Historic Leyburn Sprints will be on 19-20 August next year.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said $535,000 had been awarded to 21 events, including Leyburn.

LEY16-from left Sprints President Tricia Chant Leyburn Police officer in charge Steve Gibbs Sprints Treasurer John Hall

PHOTO: (From left) Sprints President Tricia Chant, Leyburn Police Officer in Charge Steve Gibbs and Sprints Treasurer John Hall at the $3500 cheque handover to the Blue Light Association.

THE Historic Leyburn Sprints has donated part of the proceeds from its 2016 event to help children in the Darling Downs town.

Organising committee President Tricia Chant and Treasurer John Hall presented a cheque for $3600 to the Leyburn branch of the Queensland Police Blue Light Association.

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Ron Thorp AC Cobra (Speedcafe pic)

Ron Thorp AC Cobra (Speedcafe pic)

NOT only the cars have stories to tell at the Historic Leyburn Sprints. The event frequently attracts well-known drivers from yesteryears, keen to re-live their experiences, renew friendships and see cars from their era in action.

This year’s guests included Ron Thorp, a driver from the 1960s renowned for his glorious 1964 AC Shelby Cobra 289.

Based in Wollongong, Thorp and the dark green Cobra were familiar sights at circuits and hillclimbs all over Australia. Thorp won the Australian Hillclimb Championship for sports and racing cars in 1965-66-67 before he and the car retired to Inverell to allow him to follow his other passion, flying.