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MEDIA RELEASE/Historic Leyburn Sprints – Photo: supplied via Trapnell Creations
LEYBURN – Queensland’s youngest racing drivers could be taking the first step toward motor-racing stardom with a special competition at the 27th Historic Leyburn Sprints on August 19-20.
With one week remaining until entries close, organisers are urging drivers aged between 14 and 17 to take advantage of a half-price entry fee for the Mike and Ann Collins Memorial Junior Trophy contest – and a chance to follow in the tracks of some Darling Downs motorsport heroes.
Entry on the event website will cost $125. The winner will receive $400 and second place $100 from Get Chopped Greenmount Hotel.
The trophy, introduced in 2018, allows young drivers to start their motorsport journey or hone their skills in a safe, controlled environment.
The Junior regulations aim to curb the natural hot-headedness of youth. Instead of chasing fastest times, the young drivers win or lose points on their ability to match a target time they set at the beginning of the weekend. Too fast or too slow, they lose.
They’ll still go fast in regularity and face a stiff challenge of skill and discipline that even older and very experienced drivers find difficult hard to master.
This year’s entrants will follow a string of youngsters who have continued their driving careers in mainstream motor-racing.
Jett Johnson, grandson of Queensland motor-racing legend Dick Johnson, was a Leyburn Junior in 2019 and is now, at 17, a leading contender in Super3 and national TransAm racing.
And local Warwick driver Matt Campbell, although never a Junior entrant, was Leyburn Rookie of the Year in his teens before starting an international career that has taken him to the top of world sportscar racing as a Porsche factory driver.
“Matt, Jett and many the other young drivers who have passed through the Historic Leyburn Sprints have all gained priceless experience while being mentored and supported by older drivers,” said Sprints President Tricia Chant.
“I hope we see a strong field of Juniors on track for the 27th Sprints.
“The Darling Downs has an incredible record of producing motorsport stars, from Matt Campbell, to Indy500 winner and IndyCar champion Will Power, to supercar driver Will Brown and even a racing car constructor and Lotus Formula 1 engineer, John Joyce.”
The Junior trophy is named after Sprints stalwarts, the late founder and Race Director Mike Collins and his late wife Ann, who was the Sprints inaugural president from 1996.
The couple were dedicated supporters of young people in motorsport and saw their own children and grandchildren become racing drivers.
All entries for the 2023 Historic Leyburn Sprints close at 5pm on Friday 7 July. Organisers expect a field of up to 220 historic, classic and performance cars ranging in vintage from 1925 to modern-day.
The Queensland Government’s Queensland Destination Events Program and the Southern Downs Regional Council provide financial assistance to help promote the Sprints and attract visitors to the Southern Downs region. The 2023 event also is supported by Motorsport Australia. The Historic Leyburn Sprints was named 2017 Queensland Motor Sport Event of the Year. Proceeds from the community-run event are used to assist community organisations and projects, including the Historic Leyburn Sprints Community Benefit Fund.
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