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Northern young journalists in the fast lane after winning national competition

Thursday, June 23 2011

Teenagers Andrew McEwan from Wirral Grammar School, Chris Phillips from Christleton High School and Jack Appleyard from Bradford High School are 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 boys were selected as category winners of 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. The entries were chosen by a panel of MSV staff and professional journalist Robert Ladbrook from Motorsport News magazine.

As their prize, the boys were offered the opportunity to flex their journalistic muscles by reviewing MSV's YoungDrive! experience - an introductory driving lesson for 11-17 year olds in a BMW 1 Series at Oulton Park.

The winning reports were published in the official event programme for the British F3 and GT Championships, which took place at the Tarporley circuit over Easter weekend, and Oulton Park is delighted to present their articles in full below:

Andrew McEwan, 16, Prenton
Having taken part in a Young Drive! experience a few years ago, I arrived at Oulton Park full of excitement and expectation, knowing that it was going to be a fantastic afternoon. There were three of us in the same car, along with our instructor, John, and we started with a briefing which outlined what we would be doing during the course of the day. We used the part of the circuit by the lake, which gave us a chance to use most of the cars' gears on the two long straights, and to practice cornering through the hairpin and chicane. We were also told the two objectives - learn something new, but most importantly, to have fun.

We took it in turns to do laps, keeping to the left hand side of the road, and getting used to the car. As we got more confident, we started using the chicane, where we could use the racing line and we really started to feel like racing drivers. It also served as an improvised roundabout, for practicing indicating and learning about right of way. We successfully accomplished the challenge of reversing and hill starts on Hill Top, and learnt how to corner without losing control of the car.

Overall, we were able to achieve both of the targets set at the beginning, and I left feeling happy and confident for the future, as I found the whole experience useful for my upcoming driving lessons, which I'll be starting at the end of this month.

MSV were very trusting putting a load of teenagers in control of a set of brand new BMW 1 Series, worth over 20,000, but I'm glad that they were, because not many people our age can say that they have driven a car like that anywhere, let alone on one of Britains top circuits.

Chris Phillips, 13, Chester
I arrived at Oulton Park in amazing sunny weather - excited at what the afternoon would bring. After a briefing by the qualified driving instructors, we were split into our six groups (me with the other two winners) and taken to our car by our allotted coach.

Waiting for us was a brand new, unmodified 118d MSport BMW which had arrived a week before and only had 190 miles on the clock. We were told that we could only go up to 40 mph but this was a lot quicker than I had expected!

To start with our instructor Terry drove us down the circuit in a procession of six cars to Hill Top Straight and guided us round the part of the track we were going to take.

I was the third person to drive around the set route, a circuit of approximately a mile long. For two hours, we learnt how to do smooth starts and stops, change up and down the gears and how to reverse. We then tackled roundabouts, hill starts, chicanes, hairpins and u-turns on the course.

Afterwards, the instructors d