TWO Wirral schoolboys put driving skills to the test and are through to the final of a national driving competition – despite being years away from getting a licence.

Luke Dundas, 11, from Willaston, and Joe Jones, 14, from Neston are among 40 taking part in the Young Driver Challenge 2018.

Aimed at 10 to 17-year-olds, it takes place a week on Saturday (September 22) at the Fire Service College at Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, where emergency services' drivers are trained.

Twenty finalists will compete in each of two categories: 10 to 13 and 14 to 16 years.

It is run by Young Driver, the country's largest provider of pre-17 driving tuition, which has delivered more than 550,000 lessons with fully qualified instructors.

Luke and Joe, who attend Neston High School, won their places in the final after being judged during lessons at the scheme's Aintree venue.

In the final, competitors are marked on driving skills and manoeuvres, including parallel parking, emergency stops, steering, judgement and positioning, as well as having to undertake independent driving.

Luke said: "I am really excited to get in the top 20 for my age group.

"I am hoping that I will get to pass my test first go like my brothers did.

"They both had Young Driver lessons too. None of my friends believe I drive a real car.

"I can't wait to do the competition.”

Joe added: "I was really pleased to find out I’d made the final and am looking forward to showing the judges what I can do.

"I've had five lessons with Young Driver, and although I was nervous being behind the wheel for the first time, it is a lot of fun and I think it will really help me when it comes to getting on the road at 17.

"I feel like I have a lot of driving skills under my belt and will therefore be able to focus more on other road users rather than what to do with my feet!"

Laura White, head of marketing at Young Driver, added: "Congratulations to Luke and Joe.

"They've done brilliantly to make the final and should feel very proud of themselves.

"Every year we're stunned at the quality of drivers we have entering the Young Driver Challenge – they all take the responsibility of being behind the wheel very seriously and have obviously been paying attention to every word their instructor tells them.

"The Challenge is a great way to celebrate the hard work they've done, and to show the benefits of pre-17 driving education.

"When you see the youngsters driving, it becomes fairly obvious that the extended experience, and having started at a younger age, is a positive thing for all of our safety when it comes to them getting on the roads for real."