18th Oct, 2017

Mini Willson in the driving seat for national final

Stratford Editorial 4th Sep, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

IT seems driving really must run in the Willson family.

Mini Wilson, the 11-year old daughter of motoring journalist Quentin Willson, is following in the tyre tracks of her father after being named one of the country’s best young drivers.

Despite her young age, Mini has made it through to the national final in the search for Britain’s best driver under the age of 17.

The Stratford Preparatory School pupil will take her place alongside 40 other young drivers at the national final for the 2015 Young Driver Challenge at Birmingham’s NEC on Saturday (September 5)

The challenge – open to those aged between 11 and 16 – was run by Young Driver, the UK’s largest provider of under-17 driving tuition.

Mini – who will compete in the 11 to 13 age category – has had seven Young Driver lessons at the scheme’s NEC and Stoneleigh Park venues.

Entrants were judged on both practical driving skill and theoretical knowledge.

As well as being tested on manoeuvres and skills such as parallel parking, figures of eight, braking, steering, judgement and positioning, youngsters also had to complete the Goodyear Driving Academy, an interactive online driving simulator which tests their knowledge of the Highway Code.

Prizes up for grabs include 40 pre and post 17 driving lessons provided by Goodyear, a Young Driver at School session for the driver and their classmates, and £500 off a car insurance premium courtesy of Young Driver sponsor Admiral.

Mini said: “It’s awesome that I’ve got to the Young Driver Final. I’m going to practice loads so I can prove that girls can drive better than boys!”

Kim Stanton from Young Driver congratulated Mini and the other finalists on winning through from hundreds of entries.

She added: “All of the finalists have worked really hard, and should feel very proud of themselves.

“The final will be a great event, and the judges will really be putting these young drivers to the test. People would be amazed at the quality of the driving. We’re certainly not talking about the kangaroo braking you may remember from your own initial driving attempts.

“Our aim has always been to create a safer next generation of young drivers. The current accident rate for youngsters is shockingly high – one in five crash within six months of passing their test.

“We believe it is vital to get youngsters learning to drive at an earlier age, so they can gain more experience and when they’re more naturally receptive to safety messages. The Young Driver Challenge gives us a great opportunity to talk to more youngsters about safe driving, and to show the general public just how good these young drivers can be, given the proper tuition.”

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