Meet Northern Ireland's youngest hotshot driver - and he's just 13
A 13-year-old from Newcastle, Co Down has been announced as the first finalist from Northern Ireland in the Young Driver Challenge.
Evan Biggerstaff has made the national final of the driving awards after beating off stiff competition, despite not even being entitled to a licence yet.
The Shimna Integrated College student will be one of 20 finalists in his age category of at the Young Driver Challenge, which is run by Young Driver, the UK’s largest provider of pre-17 driving lessons.
Pupils drive dual controlled Vauxhall Corsas on private land with a fully qualified instructor and learn the skills needed to be a safe and responsible driver.
Evan has had lessons at the Belfast venue and was marked by his instructor on key driving techniques.
Finalists will compete in a number of driving challenges, including manoeuvring a slalom, undertaking different types of parking, controlling an emergency brake and confidently tackling independent driving.
It will take place at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham on September 7, with cash prizes, driving lessons and restaurant vouchers offered as prizes.
Hosting the final will be Vicki Butler-Henderson and Quentin Willson, who have both been presenters on ‘Fifth Gear’ and ‘Top Gear’.
"Driving is a skill that is, for most people, completely necessary in life but most people learn how to do it at 17 or older, so to have it nearly mastered by 14, I think will come in really useful later in my life," said Evan.
"I’ve always loved driving and didn’t think I was too bad at it for my age but I never suspected I would be ranked in the top 20 in the entire UK for my age group."
Young Driver aims to develop a safer next generation of young drivers, by extending their learning over a longer period. It has delivered more than 740,000 lessons over the last 10 years.
"Every year the quality of driving we see from these young people astounds us," said Sue Waterfield, head of marketing for Young Driver.
"They take their learning very seriously, and it’s a great way of reinforcing all those important safety messages when they don’t have the pressure of trying to pass a test as quickly as possible. The Challenge final is always the highlight of our calendar and it will be fantastic to have Vicki and Quentin there this year, cheering on our worthy finalists.
"Congratulations to Evan, who has already done so well, beating hundreds of other entrants – and as our first ever finalist from Northern Ireland. We wish you every luck for the final."
Belfast Telegraph Digital