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Historic Leyburn Sprints 2019 (Photos: Trapnell Creations)

Photos: Trapnell Creations

LEYBURN (Queensland) - MORE than 200 historic, classic and performance cars and a grid-full of racing heroes from yesteryear will headline the 24th annual Historic Leyburn Sprints on the Southern Darling Downs on 17-18 August.

The time-trials on a closed-street course around Leyburn celebrate the running of the Australian Grand Prix on an ex-wartime airfield just outside the town in September 1949.

The event is one of the most popular on the historic motorsport calendar and every year attracts thousands of spectators from far and wide.

While no 1949 participants have been found to join the 70th anniversary celebrations, Sprints organisers have invited an impressive line-up of popular drivers from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, who will be on hand to meet their fans at various activities during the weekend.

Colin Schiller will bring two MG TB Specials that raced in the 1949 Australian Grand Prix to 70th anniversary celebrations at the Historic Leyburn Sprints next month.

PHOTOS: Colin Schiller will bring two MG TB Specials that raced in the 1949 Australian Grand Prix to 70th anniversary celebrations at the Historic Leyburn Sprints next month.

LEYBURN (Queensland) - Seventy years after the tiny southern Queensland town of Leyburn hosted a memorable Australian Grand Prix, two cars that contested the event will star in anniversary celebrations at the Historic Leyburn Sprints next month.

Both are 1939 MG TB Specials, owned by Colin Schiller and to be driven by him and his daughter Belinda.

The single-seater siblings will be among the oldest – and certainly most historic – of more than 200 entries expected at the 24thannual Sprints on 17-18 August.

The Sprints will mark 70 years since the grand prix was run on 18 September 1949 at a former wartime airfield just outside the Darling Downs township. Thirty thousand spectators were said to have watched the 242 km race, won by John Crouch in a French-built Delahaye.

'Big Rev Kev' Kevin Bartlett, here steering his famous Chev Camaro Z28 at Mount Panorama, will be a special guest at the 2019 Historic Leyburn Sprints (Pic: Autopics.com.au)

Two-time Australian Drivers' Champion Kevin Bartlett (left) and 1981 Bathurst winner John French are among Australian motor racing legends heading for the 2019 Historic Leyburn Sprints (Pic: Autopics.com.au)

PHOTOS: Dick Johnson (left) and Fred Gibson will be among the motor-racing legends attending the Historic Leyburn Sprints for Australian Grand Prix 70th anniversary celebrations (Images by Autopics.com.au)

LEYBURN (Queensland) - Bathurst winners Dick Johnson and Fred Gibson have joined a line-up of motor-racing legends set to attend the Historic Leyburn Sprints for 70th anniversary celebrations of the Australian Grand Prix next month.

Johnson, now 74, and Gibson, 78, will participate in a variety of meet-and-greet activities with fans at the 17-18 August event on the Queensland Darling Downs.

They will join 60s and 70s touring car contemporaries Colin Bond, John French, Kevin Bartlett, Bill Gates and others to commemorate Leyburn’s hosting of the 1949 Australian Grand Prix.

The visit will be the first for Melbourne-based Gibson, but Johnson has been a Sprints regular in recent years, enjoying the grass-roots atmosphere and occasionally guest-driving a NASCAR-powered Ford Falcon XY GT on the 1.0 kilometre round-the-houses course.

'Big Rev Kev' Kevin Bartlett, here steering his famous Chev Camaro Z28 at Mount Panorama, will be a special guest at the 2019 Historic Leyburn Sprints (Pic: Autopics.com.au)

PHOTO: "Big Rev Kev" Kevin Bartlett, here steering his famous Chev Camaro Z28 at Mount Panorama, will be a special guest at the 2019 Historic Leyburn Sprints (Pic: Autopics.com.au)

Two-time Australian Drivers' Champion Kevin Bartlett (left) and 1981 Bathurst winner John French are among Australian motor racing legends heading for the 2019 Historic Leyburn Sprints (Pic: Autopics.com.au)

PHOTOS: Two-time Australian Drivers' Champion Kevin Bartlett (left) and 1981 Bathurst winner John French are among Australian motor racing legends heading for the 2019 Historic Leyburn Sprints (Pic: Autopics.com.au)

LEYBURN (Queensland) - KEVIN Bartlett, one of Australia’s most popular racing drivers of the 60s, 70s and 80s, has joined the line-up of motorsport legends who will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Australian Grand Prix at the Historic Leyburn Sprints on the Queensland Darling Downs in August.

Bartlett will attend the Sprints on 17-18 August with his 1982 Bathurst co-driver Colin Bond, 1981 Bathurst winner John French, Queensland ace Bill Gates and several other former drivers yet to be announced.

Now aged 79, Bartlett – or KB or Big Rev Kev, as he was known – started racing in 1958 with a Morris Minor, but went on to win Australian Drivers’ Championships in 1968 and 1969, the 1974 Bathurst 1000 and set the first 100 mile-an-hour (160 kmh) Bathurst lap in a Repco Brabham in 1967.

(Left, CAMS pic) Colin Bond accepts his Hal of Fame award; (right, Garry O'Brien pic) The Caltex-sponsored Alfa Romeo 75 was one of many cars Colin Bond drove during an impressive 30-year career.

PHOTOS: (Left, CAMS pic) Colin Bond accepts his Hall of Fame award; (right, Garry O'Brien pic) The Caltex-sponsored Alfa Romeo 75 was one of many cars Colin Bond drove during an impressive 30-year career.

LEYBURN (Queensland) - CELEBRITIES from a golden era of motorsport, including multiple champion Colin Bond, will help celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Australian Grand Prix at the Historic Leyburn Sprints on the Queensland Darling Downs in August.

A veteran of three decades of racing, rallying and rallycross, Bond will make his first visit to the annual Sprints, which will be staged on a 1.0 kilometre street course around the village of Leyburn for the 24th time on 17-18 August.

Organisers also have confirmed the attendance of prominent Queensland driver of the 60s and 70s Bill Gates, who will come out of a long retirement to drive a Ford Escort.

Sprints Founder and Race Director Mike Collins said negotiations were in progress to bring a number of other popular drivers representing the 60s, 70s and 80s to the event.