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Oliver in top gear with national win

A 16-YEAR-OLD from Alcester has claimed first place in a national driving competition for 10- to 17-year-olds.

Oliver Smith, who is a pupil at Alcester Grammar School, was one of 20 finalists in the 14 to 16 age category at the Young Driver Challenge 2018, which took place on 22nd September. Youngsters hoping to be named Britain’s Best Young Driver came from all over the country to take part in the event, held at the Fire Service College at Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire.

Oliver wowed the judges with his skills behind the wheel – being marked on general control, judgement and positioning, as well as manoeuvres including parallel parking, emergency stops and steering. His prize includes a trophy, £200 cash, 10 x 60-minute Young Driver lesson vouchers and a £75 restaurant voucher.

The Challenge is run by Young Driver, which is the country’s largest provider of pre-17 driving tuition, having delivered more than 550,000 lessons at 60 venues across the UK. Lessons take place in dual controlled Vauxhall Corsas with fully qualified instructors. The aim of the scheme is to create a safer next generation of drivers - one in five newly-qualified drivers in the UK has an accident within six months of passing their test, but this drops to one in 10 for Young Driver past pupils. Oliver qualified for the final having entered at a Young Driver event at Stoneleigh Park.

Oliver said: “I can’t believe I got first place! I was delighted to win the challenge. Even without winning, I had a really good time and improved my skills further. It was a challenging day, but I enjoyed getting behind the wheel and showing the judges what I can do.

“I feel like all this experience is going to be so helpful when it comes to getting on the road for real - I’ll already have a good understanding of how to physically drive the car and will be able to focus more on my surroundings.

“Taking part, and doing so well in the young driver challenge, has really boosted my confidence in lots of ways.”

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