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.

Last year’s event attracted up to 15,000 spectators and competitors to the tiny Darling Downs town, which has a permanent population of fewer than 450 people, and earned the Queensland Motor Sport Event of the Year award from the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport.

Competitors come from as far away as Cairns, Melbourne and Adelaide for the Sprints, which are renowned in historic racing circles for the variety of cars representing more than 90 years of motoring and unique country atmosphere. Show-and-Shine and Vintage Caravan displays add to the attractions.

The Sprints are among 27 events across Queensland that Tourism and Major Events Minister Kate Jones said would receive a total of $484,000 this year to help with promotion and organisation.

“Regional events play an important role in driving tourism and supporting local economies by providing travellers with another reason to visit our unique destinations,”she said.

“Many of these events have grown to become huge drawcards for their region and are an integral part of their identity, celebrating our enviable lifestyle, idyllic destinations and unbeatable hospitality.”

The not-for-profit Historic Leyburn Sprints are organised by a local community committee and proceeds are used to assist community groups and projects.

Sprints President Tricia Chant said the increased funding was wonderful news for the event, which celebrates the running of the 1949 Australian Grand Prix on an ex-wartime airstrip just outside the town.

“The Historic Leyburn Sprints have become an unmissable weekend for enthusiasts of historic, classic and performance cars,” she said.

“The organising committee greatly appreciates the continuing and increased support of the Queensland Destination Events Program as recognition of the part the Sprints play in attracting many new and returning visitors to the Southern Queensland Country tourism region.”