13-year old from Doncaster named one of Britain’s best young drivers

Benji Jackson from Hatfield has been named as one of Britain’s best young drivers after taking part in the Young Driver Challenge 2021 last weekend.

Benji, who attends Doncaster UTC, was one of 40 talented finalists, all aged under 17, who earned their place competing at the event held on 2nd October at the British Motor Museum in Warwickshire.

He took second place in the 10-13 age category and was praised for his safe driving skills.

Benji said: “I can’t believe I placed second – I’m so pleased.

Benji Jackson takes second place in the Young Driver Challenge 2021 – which is specifically for youngsters who aren’t yet 17.

“I came along just wanting to try my best and I really enjoyed myself, so, to find out I’d won second place was fantastic.

"I feel like my driving skills are improving all the time, I love being behind the wheel and improving with every lesson.

"By the time I get on the road at 17 I should already know how to safely control a car which is a great feeling.”

Another Doncaster UTC pupil, Conner Robinson, aged 14 and from Rossington, came joint fifth in the 14-16 age category. Other South Yorkshire competitors taking part were Harry Ducker, 15, from Wickersley, Rotherham; Will Mortimer, 15, from Kiveton Park, Rotherham; Mackenzie Higgins, 13, from Shafton, Barnsley; and Edward McManus, 14, and Matt James, 13, both from Sheffield.

Benji Jackson with Quentin Willson at the Young Driver Challenge 2021 final. Pic by Jane Collier.

The Challenge is organised by Young Driver, the UK’s largest pre-17 driving school, and 2021 marks the seventh year the competition has run.

Competitors compete in two age categories – 10 to 13 and 14 to 16 – and take part in a variety of driving activities including reversing, parking, manoeuvring a slalom, handling junctions and independent driving.

Drivers are behind the wheel of new, dual controlled Vauxhall Corsas with fully qualified driving instructors who assess their abilities and skills.

The aim of the Young Driver scheme is to create a safer next generation of drivers – in the UK one in five newly qualified drivers has an accident within six months of passing their test, but this drops dramatically for Young Driver past pupils.

TV presenter and motoring expert Quentin Willson awarded the finalists their prizes.

For taking second place Benji won five 60 minute Young Driver lessons, a £50 restaurant voucher, a trophy and a signed copy of Quentin Willson’s latest book: Learn to Drive without Tears and Tantrums.

Sue Waterfield, head of marketing at Young Driver, said: “It’s been a great final, the drivers all performed amazingly. Benji and Conner should feel very proud of themselves, it’s a fantastic achievement. Anyone watching the finalists drive can see how beneficial it is learning at such a young age. These teens take the responsibility of being a safe driver very seriously and they show great control of the cars. They’ll take that forward with them as they learn on the road at 17 and then as qualified drivers. But beyond showing us how great their driving skills are, they’ve all had a really great day with lots of smiles and a real sense of pride and achievement, which is what it’s all about.”

Young Driver operates at 70 locations across the UK, including Sheffield, Doncaster and Barnsley, and has sold more than one million driving lessons to youngsters aged between 10 and 17. For more information, go to www.youngdriver.com or download the app.