New Mills teenager in final of driving competition - despite not being old enough to have a licence

A teenager from New Mills has made the final of a national driving competition – despite not being old enough to hold a licence.
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Archie Phythian, who attends New Mills School and 6th Form College, has secured a place in the final of the Young Driver Challenge 2021, having beaten off stiff competition from hundreds of other entries. The competition is run Young Driver, and all entrants are aged between 10 and 16.

Having had several lessons with Young Driver, Archie was put forward by his instructor, who was impressed by his driving skills at a lesson earlier this year. 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. 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.

Archie Phythian is through to the national finals of a driving competitionArchie Phythian is through to the national finals of a driving competition
Archie Phythian is through to the national finals of a driving competition
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Archie said: “I can’t believe I’ve made the final, I’m so pleased!

"I’ve had several lessons with Young Driver and really enjoyed them. You get straight on with learning how to handle a car and the instructors are very helpful.

"It’s good fun, but also I think it’s going to help a lot when I get to 17 and start to learn on the road. I’m hoping I do well at the final, but I’m just going to enjoy it!”

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, whilst other prizes up for grabs include vouchers and signed copies of Quentin Willson’s book – ‘Learn to Drive Without Tears and Tantrums’.

Sue Waterfield, head of marketing for Young Driver, said: “Congratulations to Archie for making the final – it’s a real achievement. The skill of the talented drivers in the final surprises us every year, even though they’re all under 17. We can’t wait to see what talent the final brings this year and wish all our contestants the best of luck!”