Benji Jackson, 13, from Hatfield and Conner Robinson, 14, from Rossington, have been awarded a place in the final of the Young Driver Challenge 2021, having beaten off stiff competition from hundreds of other entries from around the country. The competition is run by the UK’s largest pre-17 driving school, Young Driver, and all entrants are aged between 10 and 16.
Seven South Yorkshire teens, ranging in ages from 13 to 15, have made the final of a national driving competition – despite not being old enough to hold a driving licence.
The teens were put forward by their instructors, who were impressed by their respective driving skills at lessons earlier this year at various Young Driver venues across Yorkshire. Young Driver lessons take place on private property in dual controlled Vauxhall Corsas with fully qualified instructors, and youngsters learn in a real car as they would on the road at 17.
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Twenty finalists in each of two age categories – 10-13 and 14-16 – will now attend the final which is being held on October 2 at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire. There the drivers will be put through their paces in a number of challenges, including safely handling a steering slalom, tackling junctions and roundabouts, confident use of the gears and clutch control and performing manoeuvres such as parking and an emergency stop.
This year marks the seventh time the Challenge has taken place. The final will be hosted by motoring expert and former presenter of Top Gear and Fifth Gear Quentin Willson. The winner of the Challenge will receive £200 and Young Driver lessons worth £750, whilst other prizes up for grabs include vouchers and signed copies of Quentin Willson’s book – ‘Learn to Drive Without Tears and Tantrums’.
Sue Waterfield, head of marketing for Young Driver, said: “The pandemic put the brakes on the Challenge last year, so we are delighted it’s now back and we’re very much looking forward to it. Congratulations to all our Yorkshire finalists for making the final – it’s a real achievement. The skill of the talented drivers in the final surprises us every year, even though they’re all under 17. The whole purpose of Young Driver is to create safer newly qualified drivers and it is great to be able to celebrate the achievements of those youngsters who are taking that responsibility very seriously – as well as having some fun. We can’t wait to see what talent the final brings this year and wish all our contestants the best of luck.”
Young Driver has sold more than one million lessons since it launched in 2009. One in five young drivers has an accident within the first six months after passing their test, but research shows that figure drops to under four per cent for Young Driver past pupils. For more information about the scheme go to www.youngdriver.com