Schoolboy motors his way into national driving competition final

Schoolboy motors his way into national driving competition final

4 September 2019

NEWCASTLE youth Evan Biggerstaff has made his way into the final of a national driving competition — despite being four years away from allowed to drive legally.

The 13 year-old, who attends Shimna Integrated College, will be one of 20 finalists in his age category at the Young Driver Challenge 2019.

He is the first ever competitor from Northern Ireland to make the final which will be at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham where they will be crowned Britain’s best young driver by TV presenters and motoring experts Quentin Willson and Vicki Butler Henderson.

All the competitors are under the legal driving age but the aim of the event is reinforce safe driving in prospective drivers at a young age.

Pupils drive dual controlled Vauxhall Corsas on private land with a fully qualified instructor and learn the skills needed to be a safe and responsible driver.

Despite ranging in age from just 10 to 16, all of the drivers have shown exceptional skill.

The challenge is run by Young Driver, the UK’s largest provider of pre-17 driving lessons.

Evan has had lessons at the Young Driver’s Belfast venue — one of more than 65 across the UK.

He said: “Driving is a skill that is, for most people, completely necessary in life but most people learn how to do it at 17 or older, so to have it nearly mastered by 14, I think will come in really useful later in my life. 

“I’ve always loved driving and didn’t think I was too bad at it for my age but I never suspected I would be ranked in the top 20 in the entire UK for my age group. I am absolutely thrilled to be into the Young Driver Championship 2019.”

Pupils were able to enter the competition throughout the spring and were marked by their instructor on key driving techniques. 

Finalists will compete in a number of driving challenges, including manoeuvring a slalom, undertaking different types of parking, controlling an emergency brake and confidently tackling independent driving. 

The challenge encourages youngsters to consider responsible and safe driving, with top marks given to those who show the best levels of control and awareness. 

Prizes up for grabs include £200, 10 one-hour Young Driver lessons, family restaurant vouchers and signed copies of Quentin Willson’s latest book, Learn to Drive Without Tears and Tantrums.

Sue Waterfield, head of marketing for Young Driver, said: “Every year the quality of driving we see from these young people astounds us. They take their learning very seriously, and it’s a great way of reinforcing all those important safety messages when they don’t have the pressure of trying to pass a test as quickly as possible.”