31 March 2014
Central Otago's Best Young Driver competition has been hailed a success with the final day of competition yesterday defining the winner for 2014.
Central Otago Mayor Tony Lepper announced the winner at the prize giving at The Nose restaurant at Highlands Motorsport Park, with Mathew Morris of Central Rural Services in Chatto Creek winning the title of Central Otago Young Driver of the Year for 2014.
The award for the title of Most Improved Driver went to Nitish Deo of Opus Consultants in Alexandra.
Competition convenor Jo Robinson said she was thrilled that the young drivers had learned so much through the various skills and theory tests completed during the competition.
The competition started with 22 competitors and culminated with the top three undergoing additional skill tests before Mathew was announced the winner. The two runners up were Patrick Williamson of Central Otago District Council and Jacob Shirley from Highlands Motorsport Park.
Jeff Fleury of the New Zealand Transport Agency, an instructor during the event, said he felt the competition gave young drivers an opportunity to learn skills in a safe setting.
"Among other things, the young drivers had an opportunity to practise using ABS brakes and electronic stability control in gravel," said Mr Fleury. "It was a steep learning curve for those with little experience in cars with high safety ratings. As organisers, we hope that when they purchase their next car, they will now think carefully about buying the safest vehicle they can get for the money they have. That alone is a good outcome."
Graham McNabb, a member of the organising committee, said it was fantastic to have so much support and so many volunteers from the community involved.
"We have had very generous sponsorship from Highlands Motorsport Park who donated the use of their facilities and some staff, plus more than 40 volunteers involved in running the two days of competition. We have also had 20 employers willing to give their staff a day off work to attend the first day of competition. We could not have run the competition without their assistance and they should take credit for their part in its success."