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Milton Keynes young journalist wins national competition

Thursday, June 23 2011

Milton Keynes teenager Stephen Lickorish is on the road to writing success, after being awarded a unique driving prize for winning MotorSport Vision's Young Motorsport Journalist of the Year competition.

The 17-year-old Denbigh School pupil was selected as the winner of the North West 14-17 year olds' category winner in the contest, which was launched by MotorSport Vision to uncover the next generation of budding journalists.

The competition challenged aspiring writers to put together a 300 word report based on a video of a Formula Two race. Stephen's entry was chosen by a panel of MSV staff and professional journalist Robert Ladbrook from Motorsport News magazine.

As his prize, Stephen was offered the opportunity to flex his journalistic muscles by reviewing MSV's YoungDrive! experience - an introductory driving lesson for 11-17 year olds in a BMW 1 Series at Bedford Autodrome.

Stephen Lickorish explained: "Before my experience, I had NEVER driven a car, and the prospect was a little daunting. By the end of the session I was slaloming through cones without difficulty and felt confident to take to the roads with an instructor.

"Prior to the driving session beginning, there was a tour of the workshop at Bedford Autodrome, a venue where F1 stars Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber were previous instructors. Then it was on to the driving. The car was a high-spec diesel BMW 1 series, dual-controlled model, the perfect size for first time drivers. The four of us that were taking part in the experience were paired up - something that allows you to watch and learn from others. We were also given a very patient and encouraging instructor for the session.

"To begin with, it was the basics of pulling away (yes, there were some stalls!), steering and learning how to perform an emergency stop. After this we moved onto slaloming between cones, changing gear from first to second and powering through a water splash. And the final skill learnt was reversing - following a bent line when going backwards is surprisingly difficult!

"What's great about the experience is that it takes place in an isolated, traffic-free environment so there is no added distraction of other cars to watch out for. There is also plenty of space and the only obstacles you have to worry about are the cones. It is massively worthwhile for anyone preparing to learn to drive, and it is an enjoyable and useful introduction for those who are too young to drive on the roads.

Stephen's winning report was published in the official event programme for the Bedford Autodrome Schools' Grand Prix, which took place at the Thurleigh circuit on 22 May.

YoungDrive! at Bedford Autodrome is open to anyone aged 11-17 and at least 4'8'' tall. Vouchers cost £79 and are valid for 12 months. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click the link below.