Fifth Gear presenters scout for Sussex’s best young driver in Ardingly

Two motoring experts are leading the hunt for the UK’s best young driver in Ardingly.

Friday, 24th May 2019, 9:39 am

Fifth Gear presenters, Vicki Butler-Henderson and Quentin Willson are searching for contestants to meet at the Young Driver’s Challenge on September 7 and crown them Sussex’s best young driver.

The challenge is open to anyone aged from ten to 16, and entries can be made during lessons at any of Young Driver’s 60 venues, including the South of England Showground before July 15.

Drivers will be marked on their driving skills and abilities, with the 40 top scorers from across the country then being invited to the national final at the NEC.

Young Driver uses dual control Vauxhall Corsas and fully qualified driving instructors

At the NEC, finalists will be split into two categories, 10 to 13s and 14 to 16s, before competing in a number of driving challenges, including manoeuvring a slalom, undertaking different types of parking, controlling an emergency brake and 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 for the winners include £200, ten one-hour Young Driver lessons, family restaurant vouchers and signed copies of Quentin Willson’s latest book.

Young Driver has given over 700,000 driving lessons to under 17s over the last ten years. The scheme sets out mock road systems, which allows youngsters to experience everything from roundabouts and junctions to car parks and traffic lights. Lessons take place in a dual control Vauxhall Corsa with a highly trained approved driving instructor.

The emphasis of the scheme is very much on safety. Four hundred people are killed on UK roads in accidents involving young drivers every year and one in five newly qualified drivers has an accident within six months of passing their test. Research shows that pre-17 driving tuition can cut the accident rate in half, to one in ten.

Presenting the finalists with their awards at this year’s Challenge final, Vicki Butler-Henderson has an impressive motoring track record as a driver, motoring journalist and TV presenter, including presenting ITV’s new prime-time classic car show, ‘The Car Years’.

Vicki said: “I strongly believe in getting behind the wheel as soon as possible. You don’t have to aim for a career as a driver - just learning early will be a huge benefit and gives you the time getting to grips with the necessary skills. I can’t wait to see what the finalists can do on the day. It should be lots of fun.”

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