Date set for Leyburn Sprints to get green light
MOTOR RACING: The iconic Historic Leyburn Sprints are expected to return to the Southern Downs for their 25th anniversary, as organisers pledge their commitment to the event.
The ever-changing threat of coronavirus has raised concerns for organisers who say it is "too early" to determine if the event should be called off.
"People put a lot of hard work into organising the sprints and the fact we don't know what will happen is one reason why we don't want to cancel yet," Sprints committee president Tricia Chant said.
"The event is still five months away and we have all our fingers crossed that we will be able to go ahead."
Aware that the event may still have to be cancelled or postponed, Chant said the committee was trying to limit spending where possible to avoid financial concerns.
"At the moment, we're trying to make sure we don't sign too many contracts on things we might not be able to recover," she said.
"We have already ordered a lot of the merchandise and obviously if we aren't able to run the event, there would be some cost incurred there."
With close to 15,000 people attending the two-day event - including 200 historic, classic and performance cars - the organising committee is not inclined to run the Sprints without spectators.
"For us, competitors are important but for us, our event is more of a festival," she said.
"To run without spectators would be defeating the purpose of what we are, and we wouldn't want to go down that road. If the restrictions are lifted and we've made a big impact on the virus, then we will go ahead."
Preparations are still being made for the 25th anniversary celebrations, which include the return of the legend's dinner - last held on the 20th anniversary. Chant said the committee would consult the Leyburn community on every decision taken.
"If we can't go ahead for our August date, we will talk with Motorsport Australia to see if there was any possibility of pushing the races back to October," she said.
"None of that is confirmed but we are tinkering away with options - certainly everything is up in the air.
"If it comes to it, we will probably have to make a decision by late May on if we are going to cancel or postpone."