A 13 and a 16 year old are celebrating this week after beating hundreds of others from across the country to be crowned the UK's Best YOUNG DRIVER™s - before they are even old enough to officially drive.
Troy Hickling, 16, from Leicester finished first in the 14-16 age category, and Hannah Tripp, 13, from Cheddar in Somerset won the 11-13 age category, at the national finals of the 2014 YOUNG DRIVER™ Challenge, held at the Birmingham NEC on Saturday 13th September.
More than 350 young people entered the competition, organised by YOUNG DRIVER™, the UK’s largest provider of driving tuition for under-17s, and Troy and Hannah were among the 40 who made it to the final of the contest.
Hannah said: "It was an amazing feeling even to be in the final. To then learn I'd won my age category was just incredible. It was quite a challenging test and we knew the judges were marking our ability based on a lot of different driving skills and manoeuvres. We had to show how well we could do things like parallel parking, reversing, tight steering, emergency stops and turns in the road, as well as undertake independent driving.”
Troy added: “It was a great day and I was stunned to win. It’s reassuring to know I’m doing so well, and all this experience will obviously be a huge help when I come to learn on the road aged 17.”
Judges at the final included representatives from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and Goodyear, along with specialist ex-police driving instructor Gary White, and several highly qualified driving instructors.
Mark Lewis, Director of Standards for IAM, said: “We knew when we got involved with YOUNG DRIVER™ that the standard of teaching was very high, but the students really demonstrated control of their car and abilities way beyond their years. They were all very responsible and considered drivers and hopefully it should help them be much safer drivers when they do take to the road for real in a few years. By catching drivers young, before they get influenced by their peers, I firmly believe we’re saving lives in the future. Troy and Hannah showed so much skill behind the wheel, we were delighted to award them both first place in their age categories. Congratulations to them, it’s very well deserved."
Kim Stanton from YOUNG DRIVER™ said this first year's competition had been a huge success: “This competition has proven just how much young people can learn before they are even officially old enough to drive, and we are delighted that so many youngsters have shown the desire to not only learn the basics but also hone their skills. We’d like to say a massive congratulations to Troy and Hannah, as they really did provide a fantastic demonstration of just how good a driver a young person can be. The standard of entries was extremely high, so all of our finalists and winners should feel hugely proud of their achievements."