Hutchinson takes out Leyburn Sprints

Warwick Hutchinson drives his OMS28 to outright victory. Picture: Trapnell Creations

Warwick Hutchinson has won a fourth Historic Leyburn Sprints outright title thanks to a last-lap effort.

Hutchinson had trailed Brett Bull all weekend and it was the latter who laid down a 42.365s time on his ninth and final run in his Van Dieman single-seater.

However, Hutchinson still had one lap to come around the 1.0km Leyburn street course, and wheeled his Mazda rotary-powered OMS28 to a 42.271s.

He said after clinching a first victory since 2013 at the Sprints, “This trophy is close to my heart. I’ve been up here several times and it’s good to be back.

“Brett was in front most of the weekend and it was a really close battle. That was very satisfying to beat him on the very last run.”

Brad Stratton won the Historic class with a fastest time of 55.225s in a 1962 Elfin Mallala sports car.

Thomas Rath, driving a Suzuki Swift, claimed the Ann Collins Memorial Junior Award for setting the most consistent times among drivers aged between 14 and 17.

The event also saw Brodie Kostecki complete demonstrations in the Ford Fusion which Marcos Ambrose drove to the first victory for an Australian in a NASCAR national series.

Dick Johnson rides with owner Doug Partington in the 1922 Wikner Ford Special. Picture: Trapnell Creations

“Everyone loved the sound of the NASCAR – it revs to 9000 and sounds unique,” said Kostecki.

“It was great to see so many people and so many cars – quite different to what I’ve been doing.

“It’s been nice to sit a few kids in my car for photographs.”

Dick Johnson, who attended as a ‘Leyburn Legend’, was taken for a parade lap in Australia’s oldest race car, the 1922 Wikner Ford Special owned for 63 years by Doug Partington.

Steven and Jett Johnson were also in attendance, the latter competing in a Ford Escort, as was another Leyburn Legend in Ross Stone.

“I’m asking myself what have I been missing out on,” said Stone.

“It’s got such a good feeling and it’s such a good event, I’ll come back.”

The Leyburn Sprints commemorate the Queensland town’s hosting of the 1949 Australian Grand Prix, and the 25th anniversary event was well-attended despite border restrictions keeping some would-be entrants away.

“We’ve faced some challenges in the past couple of years after having to cancel the 2020 event and postpone this year’s by three weeks, but there was no sign of that at the weekend – everyone seemed to have a great time,” said Sprints president Tricia Chant.

The event is set to return to its customary late-August date in 2022.

Leyburn Sprints 2021 results

Fastest Outright (Col Furness Memorial Trophy): 1 W Hutchinson (OMS28) 42.271 sec., 2 B Bull (Van Dieman RF03K) 43.365s, 3 S Woodbridge (Dallas F304) 45.001s
Fastest Historic (Hayden Betts Memorial Trophy): B Stratton (Elfin Mallala) 55.225s
Ann Collins Memorial Junior Award: T Rath (Suzuki Swift)
Best Volunteer (Alan Wickham Memorial): D Trustrum
Shannons Show ‘n’ Shine: Best Car, 1979 Ford Falcon 500 ute Rally Pack (M Murphy), Best Bike, 2019 Honda Gold Wing (C Lyon)
Best Vintage Van: 1963 Millard Safari (L & M Whiting)

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