Racing legend Dick Johnson prepares to race the 1934 Ford Indy Special.
Racing legend Dick Johnson prepares to race the 1934 Ford Indy Special. Shannon Newley

Sprint drivers race in rain

RACING legend Dick Johnson said it would take more than a bit of wet weather to keep him away from the 16th Historic Leyburn Sprints after an all-day downpour at the event on Saturday.

“These people who love motorsports – it takes more than a bit of rain to dampen their spirits when it comes to an event like this,” he said.

“There are quite a few people close to my age here and they have been around long enough to know not to worry about the things you can’t change like the weather.”

Johnson, who has made a number of appearances at the Leyburn Sprints, said it was great to see such a dedicated group of people bring the event to the small Southern Downs township.

“It’s just a fantastic event and it’s fantastic for a small town like this to have it,” he said.

“It shows how much an event like this event can grow over the years and it does do an awful lot for this community.”

Johnson, aged 66, said he wasn’t too worried about going head-to-head with younger drivers James Moffat and Alex Davison who were challenging him in the V8 Supercar Drivers Challenge.

The challenge involved 1.1km time trials driving cars 40 years or older. At 27 and 31 years old respectively, Moffat and Davison were both younger than the vehicles they were driving.

“I’ll sort them out,” Johnson said.

“They are too used to having a brake pedal that works and good steering.”

Race director Dennis Brown said he wasn’t sure about crowd numbers this year but knew they would be down due to the wet weather.

“But the people here still seem to be having a good time,” he said.

“There’s still a lot of keen punters who have turned up to watch the event.”

The mood was still jovial at the Sprints as people took shelter at the Royal Hotel.

Brown said despite the wet weather, the event had run pretty smoothly.

“We had one fairly major crash (on Saturday),” he said.

“No-one was hurt thankfully but the car is a throw away.”

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