Teenager reaches driving competition final - despite not having licence

Harvey Smith from Norfolk has made the final of the Young Driver Challenge 2021.

Harvey Smith, 13, from Hevingham in Norfolk, has made the final of the Young Driver Challenge 2021. - Credit: Young Driver

A 13-year-old from Norfolk has made it to the final of a national driving competition - despite not being old enough to legally get behind the wheel.

Harvey Smith, from Hevingham, achieved a place in the Young Driver Challenge 2021, having beaten off competition from hundreds of other entries.

The event is run by the UK’s largest pre-17 driving school, Young Driver, and all entrants are aged between ten and 16-years-old.

Having had several lessons at Young Driver’s Norfolk Showground venue, Harvey, who goes to Aylsham High School, was put forward by his instructor, who was impressed by his driving skills at a lesson earlier this year.

Harvey Smith has made the final of the Young Driver Challenge 2021

Harvey Smith, 13, from Hevingham in Norfolk, has made the final of the Young Driver Challenge 2021. - Credit: Young Driver

Harvey said: “I didn’t think I would hear anything about the final as it’s been a while since my instructor told me he would enter me.


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"I kept asking my dad and step mum if they had heard anything, but they hadn’t. So I was super pleased when they told me I had made the final.

"I love getting behind the wheel, in fact I just love cars. I’m really looking forward to the final," he said.

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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 October 2 at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire.

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. 

Harvey Smith behind the wheel at a Young Driver lesson.

Hevingham teenager Harvey Smith behind the wheel at a Young Driver lesson. - Credit: Young Driver

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 will receive £200 and Young Driver lessons worth £750.

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 Harvey for making the final – it’s a real achievement."



  

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