A TINY PRE-WAR motor vehicle (pictured above) that once tried to win Australia’s biggest motor race will return as a star of the 22nd Historic Leyburn Sprints on August 19 and 20.
Already 10 years old at the time, 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.
“It’s extraordinary that this car still even exists, as some grand prix entrants didn’t survive the era. But to have it find a new home here on the Darling Downs, not far from Leyburn, and to have it running next weekend is truly wonderful,” she said.
“It will be a treat to see such an historic car, well preserved despite a long competition career and one of the oldest entries this year.”
One of the most treasured events on the Australian historic motorsport calendar, the Sprints is set to maintain its reputation for the unique, unusual and unbeatable.
The oldest cars will be two 1925 Austins and the youngest a 2017 Cobra. Across more than nine decades of motoring history, the line-up for two days of time trials will feature racing, sports and touring cars of many types.
Dean Amos, from Lismore NSW, will seek his fourth straight win for outright fastest time on the one-kilometre course in a Formula 1-powered Gould Judd V8, while Keith Carling will defend his Historic trophy in a Tiga SC80 sports car.
Michael Von Rappard (Dallara F392), Harold Von Rappard (Dallara D94), Steven Woodbridge (Dallara F396) and Rielly Brook Taatus Formula Renault will be rapid contenders to beat Amos’s 42.5447-second record.
Representing golden eras of Le Mans sports car racing will be a Jaguar D-Type and Ford GT40 replicas. Phil Pratt from Canberra will race an all-electric Hooper sports car.
Rally fans will see a genuine ex-World Rally Toyota Celica GT-Four and a thundering safari-style Mercedes-Benz 450SLC V8, brought from Adelaide by brothers Stuart and Angus Bowes, plus a rare Lancia Delta Integrale.
With racing from 8am both days, Flair Action Sports stunt bike show, vintage caravan display, Shannons Show ‘n’ Shine, pub bands at night, markets and many other attractions, the Sprints promises plenty of inexpensive family entertainment, Tricia Chant says.
The community-run Sprints are supported by Tourism and Events Queensland’s Queensland Destination Events Program and assist local organisations and projects including, this year, the Leyburn State School.