Young Driver Challenge 2021: seven South Yorkshire teens make final of national driving competition

Seven South Yorkshire teens have made the final of a national driving competition – despite not being old enough to hold a licence.

By Steve Jones
Thursday, 16th September 2021, 8:52 am

They have all been awarded a place in the final of the Young Driver Challenge 2021, having beaten off stiff competition from hundreds of other entries aged 10 to 16 nationwide.

The scheme promotes safe driving among young motorists after research showed 20 per cent of them will have an accident within six months of passing their test.

Bradfield School pupil Edward McManus, 14, and 13-year-old Matt James, who is also from Sheffield, have both made the final.

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Edward McManus, who attends Bradfield School in Sheffield.

Other competitors include 15-year-old Harry Ducker from Wickersley, Will Mortimer, 15, from Kiveton Park, Mackenzie Higgins, 13, from Shafton, Benji Jackson, 13, from Hatfield, and Conner Robinson, 14, from Rossington.

This is the second time of competing for McManus, who was awarded sixth place in his age category at the final in 2019.

He said: “I am really proud to have got through to the Young Driver of the Year final again particularly in light of the standard of the competition.

"I am excited and looking forward to the final and a great day with the other competitors at The British Motor Museum site in Warwickshire.”

Sheffield teenager Matt James, 13, has also made the final.

The teens were put forward by their instructors, who were impressed by their respective driving skills at lessons earlier this year at various venues across Yorkshire.

Lessons take place on private property in dual controlled cars with fully qualified instructors.

Twenty finalists in each of two age categories – 10-13 and 14-16 – will attend the final on 2 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.

The final will be hosted by motoring expert and former presenter of Top Gear and Fifth Gear Quentin Willson.

The winner will receive £200 and Young Driver lessons worth £750, with gift vouchers also up for grabs.