PHOTOS: The Shannons Show 'n' Shine and Vintage Caravan display will be colourful highlights of the off-track entertainment at this weekend's Historic Leyburn Sprints. (Trapnell Creations pics)
LEYBURN (Queensland) - Spectators at this weekend’s 24thHistoric Leyburn Sprints will see around 210 historic, classic and modern cars race the clock on the streets of the little Darling Downs town, but the most colourful vehicles are likely to be found off-track.
Up to 40 “holiday homes on wheels” with period tow vehicles in the Vintage Caravan display and up to 150 glistening cars and motorcycles in the Shannons Show ‘n’ Shine will be highlights of a host of off-track attractions that promise a packed weekend of family entertainment on Saturday and Sunday.
Also on the program are appearances by a host of specially-invited motor-racing personalities of past decades, a country market featuring almost 30 stalls, raffles for racing car rides, a charity auction and two nights’ entertainment at the historic Royal Hotel.
The Sunday-only Shannons Show ‘n’ Shine has grown every year and features an eclectic display of cars and bikes of all types and vintages, from traditional classics, to muscle cars and modern supercars.
Entry for participants is free with an adult Sprints ticket and prizes will be awarded in 16 classes, including “Car of the Event”. Past winners have included everything from an immaculately-restored 1934 Swallow SS saloon to an FJ Holden ute.
The Vintage Caravan Display on Saturday and Sunday showcases colourfully-restored vans with evocative names such as Hallmark, Chesney, Sunliner, Carapark, Viscount and Clipper. Up front are classic tow vehicles like Zephyrs, Studebakers and Chevys and owners garbed in period-correct attire. Prizes will be awarded in several classes, including for a People’s Choice winner selected by the public.
The line-up of invited racing greats brings its own history to the weekend’s celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the 1949 Leyburn Australian Grand Prix. Bathurst winners Dick Johnson, Colin Bond, Kevin Bartlett, John French and Fred Gibson will be among a list of personalities signing autographs at 11am each day and taking a parade lap of the Sprints closed-street course at 12 midday on Sunday.
Organisers expect several thousand visitors to one of the Queensland Southern Downs’ biggest events of the year, attracted by not only the hundreds of cars but also a relaxed and friendly country atmosphere.
“There’s always something for everyone at the Historic Leyburn Sprints and this year there’s more than ever with the chance to meet some of Australia’s greatest racing personalities, who have been invited to help us celebrate the grand prix’s 70thanniversary,” Sprints President Tricia Chant said.
Adult entry to the Sprints costs $20 a day or $30 for the weekend, with children under 14 years admitted free. On-track action will start at 8am each day. Enthusiasts unable to attend the Sprints will be able to follow the action with a live video stream from the website historicleyburnsprints.com.au or on the free Power TV Australia app for Apple and Android mobile devices.
Tourism and Events Queensland’s Queensland Destination Events Program and Southern Downs Regional Council provide financial assistance to help promote the Sprints and attract visitors to the Southern Downs region. Proceeds from the Sprints benefit a wide variety of community organisations and projects.