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Leyburn Motor Sprints

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by Steve Glasgow (subscribe)
Living in Brisbane now. Traveled the world since I was 16, lived in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Malaysia and Libya. Love travel and photography. www.dadfapatlarge.blogspot.com www.dadfaphotography.com https://www.flickr.com/photos/steveglasgow
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Colour and action at the Leyburn Sprints
leyburn sprints, Australian Grand Prix, Darling Downs,
Lined up at the start line in Leyburn
The quiet Darling Downs town of Leyburn two and half hours west of Brisbane comes alive for two days each year for the running of the Leyburn Sprints. The Sprints are held to commemorate the running of the Australian Grand Prix which was held at Leyburn after the Second World War.

On September 18, 1949 the Grand Prix drew a crowd of 30,000 people to the remote Darling Downs town. The race was 150 miles long and drew machines from backyards, sheds and more "exotic" race cars from Europe.

leyburn sprints, Australian Grand Prix, Darling Downs,
Vintage racers add to the atmosphere at Leyburn


The original Australian Grand Prix (AGP) was held in Victoria at Phillips Island. After eight years there, the AGP was held at Victor Harbor in SA (1937), the now iconic Mount Panorama (1938 and 1947) again in South Australia in 1939 in the very pretty Barossa Valley town of Nuriootpa and at Point Cook in Victoria (1948). The AGP was held in Leyburn in 1949.

Established in 1966, the Leyburn Sprints is a 1km sprint through the streets of the town.

leyburn sprints, Australian Grand Prix, Darling Downs, Skelta G Force, Ron Roduner
2008 Skelta G Force driven by Ron Roduner


Today the tradition of the Grand Prix lives on in the mix of drivers turn up with their cars to test themselves and their machines against the clock through the streets of the town.

This year's was the 19th running of this event even though the air strip that was home to US Air Force during World War 2 and then by squadrons of the RAAF up until the airstrip was abandoned in 1945.

jamie chant, leyburn sprints, darling downs, australian grand prix
Going where he shouldn't, Jamie Chant takes his 1971 XY Falcon GT into the bales!


Hay flew everywhere as Jamie buried his electric blue Ford deeper and deeper.
jamie chant, leyburn sprints, darling downs, australian grand prix
Heading deeper into the bales



Retro Caravans

Leyburn also hosts a Retro Caravan show in conjunction with the Sprints. It offers visitors t experience caravans before they had ensuite showers and toilets.
leyburn sprints, Australian Grand Prix, Darling Downs, retro caravans, show and shine
1947 Ford Mercury with 1964 Sunliner caravan


People made themselves comfortable at the show. These guys look like they have settled in for the weekend and are busy with lunch.
leyburn sprints, Australian Grand Prix, Darling Downs, retro caravans, show and shine
1966 Holden Ute with the family Olympic Riveria in tow


Renovations show just how good older models can look today. They may not have all the mod cons, but they can really look the part.

leyburn sprints, Australian Grand Prix, Darling Downs, retro caravans, show and shine
Lisa Mora of Vintage Caravans and her VERY pink renovated van.

Show and Shine

It is not all about racing. The Leyburn Sprints is a two day affair that also has a Show and Shine section to allow enthusiasts to show off their pride and joy.

Looking very sleek and Bat Mobile Like, this 1968 Chrysler Windsor was a real eye catcher.
leyburn sprints, Australian Grand Prix, Darling Downs, retro caravans, show and shine
1960 Chrysler Windsor


The iconic Australian Ute
leyburn sprints, Australian Grand Prix, Darling Downs, retro caravans, show and shine
1958 FC Holden Ute


With plenty of excitement, food and drink stalls and onsite accommodation, the Leyburn Sprints is a great weekend away for both racing fans and those who enjoy the occasional weekend of motor sports.
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Why? Celebrating Australian Motorsports History
Where: Leyburn, Queensland
Cost: $15 entry
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