National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

11 June 2013

 

Young farmers from the West and East Midlands learnt life-saving driving skills at the weekend when professional racing drivers joined them behind the wheel on the skid pan and rural roads.

The event at the Prodrive Centre in Kenilworth, was part of Drive it Home campaign and gave members a chance to take their own vehicles out on the track to experience difficult driving conditions.

The course was funded by NFU Mutual and members got to private tuition from professional drivers who advised them on what to do to escape or correct difficulties, including:

•    Learning how to react to/control major skids
•    Experiencing wet/icy condition simulations
•    Receiving expert advice on rural driving
•    Learning about key motor maintenance

Young Farmers from counties across the midlands, including: Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Warwickshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Shropshire Leicestershire and Northampton took part.

Tom Evans, 17, from Leamington Hastings YFC only passed his test a month ago but said the skid pan experience was a real surprise.

“The driver explained to me how to control the car and that was really good because if I’d done that on a real road I wouldn’t really know what to do to control the car. I did an 180 degree turn and it’s quite a shock when you first do it as I didn’t know how to react. And that was in a controlled situation with an instructor – not out on my own at night.”

Ben Smalley (left), 24, from Wythall YFC has been driving since he was 17 years old but said going out on the rural roads with a professional racing driver had taught him a few things.

“I did wonder if I’d learn anything but I got good tips on road placement. I learnt how I should be sticking to the outside of bends when going in one direction and the inside for the other. It was pretty useful to stop myself thinking about being in a racing line all the time!

“I had a lot of respect for the racing drivers, you can have a good laugh with them and they were really good instructors. I think I’ll drive home differently.”

For Aimee Mahony, from Market Bosworth YFC, it was a chance to learn how to tackle a skid situation – something she had experienced for real three years earlier.

“I was a bit nervous before I went on the skid pan because it replicated an accident I’d had on ice. In the accident, I slammed my foot on the brake and span off the road. On the course the instructor told me to put my foot on the accelerator and I thought he was crazy! But doing it with someone next to me made me feel safer – and it worked!”

Aimee (right) has to travel on a lot of rural roads for her job as an auditor of free range poultry farms and recommends coming on the course.

“Even if you only learn one or two little things they’re valuable for you to take and put into practice.”
Farmers Weekly came down to cover the event and ITV Central News also filmed members taking part in the activities.

To see more photos from the event, click here.

The next event is in the South West at Dunkeswell Airfield in Honiton. To book a place, contact Christina.evans@nfyfc.org.uk or call 02476 857227.



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