A 12-year old from Bromley has made the final of a national driving competition – despite not being old enough to hold a driving licence.
Stan Owen, who goes to Hayes Secondary School, has achieved a place in the final of the Young Driver Challenge 2021, having beaten off stiff competition from hundreds of other entries.
The competition is run by the UK’s largest pre-17 driving school, Young Driver, and all entrants are aged between 10 and 16.
Having had several lessons at Young Driver’s Bluewater venue, Stan was put forward by his instructor, who was impressed by his driving skills at a lesson earlier this year.
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.
Twenty finalists in each of two age categories – 10-13 and 14-16 – will now attend the final which is being held on 2nd October 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 Stan 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!”
Stan said: “I have been interested in cars and driving from when I was very young. When I was eight I had my first Young Driver experience at Brent Cross in the special Firefly cars.
I then couldn’t wait until I was old enough to drive in the Corsas, unfortunately I wasn’t quite tall enough then.
I had a bit of a wait as the Covid pandemic hit but I finally had my first Young Driver experience at Bluewater in May 2021 which, because of the fantastic instructors, was amazing.”
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
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