Car mad Witney teen passes driving test three days after his 17th birthday

Mark Bradley throws away his learner plates           Picture: OX57282 Jon Lewis

Mark Bradley throws away his learner plates Picture: OX57282 Jon Lewis Buy this photo

First published in Witney Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

JUST a few minutes past midnight on his 17th birthday, Mark Bradley hit the roads of Oxfordshire for a drive.

And just three days later the car enthusiast passed his driving test.

Mark had only been legally allowed to drive on public roads for three full days, and had only two driving lessons totalling three hours before his test.

He said: “I wasn’t sure if I would actually pass, but I thought I’d give it a go and it was fine. I was nervous, but found it quite easy.”

The former Henry Box School pupil from Witney is a mechanic in Kidlington, and has been a fan of off-roading and motorsport since he was a child.

He and dad Simon Bradley practised for most of his January 27 birthday and over the next couple of days.

Mr Bradley said: “He has been sitting on my knee and driving since he was a toddler and could grip the steering wheel.

“I guess you could say he is carrying on the family tradition – his granddad founded the Witney Motor Club in 1963.”

Not only did the teenager have to practise for his test in the three days, he also had to travel to Swindon to pass his driving theory test the day after his birthday.

Learner drivers canot book their practical tests until their theory is passed but Mark was lucky with a last minute cancellation.

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Mr Bradley added: “He did really well, we are very proud of him. I tried to take my test on my actual birthday in 1978 but I failed.

“He couldn’t try to do that because his birthday was on a Sunday, and you have to get past your theory first now too.

“The driving instructor was pretty shocked when he found out when his birthday was he said ‘well done, that’s impressive’.

“I told him not to say anything to the driving examiner about his birthday just being a few days before just in case he didn’t want to pass him.”

Markn who was the British Junior Autocross Champion in 2011, has been driving a moped he got for his 16th birthday. But now he is the proud owner of his parents’ old Rover 25, his 17th birthday present.

Driving instructor Pete Howard, from Banbury-based Allied School of Motoring, said: “He had an awful lot of other experience – normally it would be impossible to pass with three hours of lessons.

“It is exceedingly unusual to pass this quickly.

“In those three days he had to pass his theory test and find a cancellation for the practical test – the odds against him were enormous. Extremely well done.”

According to the Driving Standards Agency, only six people have taken and passed their driving test on their 17th birthday since the start of the agency’s records in 2004, and none of them were in Oxfordshire.

Since 2004, 8,541 17-year-olds passed their test at the Banbury test centre and 9,177 17-year-olds passed their test at the Oxford test centre in Cowley.

  • Can you beat this? Or do you think you have the record for the longest time to pass? Call reporter Katriona Ormiston on 01865 425426 or email news@oxfordmail.co.uk

Comments (13)

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11:14am Wed 13 Feb 13

Jessica35 says...

This is all very well but all he has done is prove he can drive a car. Where is the experience of road, pedestrian and other car awareness which comes with time and practice during the learners sessions?
This is all very well but all he has done is prove he can drive a car. Where is the experience of road, pedestrian and other car awareness which comes with time and practice during the learners sessions? Jessica35
  • Score: 1

11:52am Wed 13 Feb 13

Dilligaf2010 says...

Jessica35 wrote:
This is all very well but all he has done is prove he can drive a car. Where is the experience of road, pedestrian and other car awareness which comes with time and practice during the learners sessions?
Very true, I can see him being involved in an accident before too long
[quote][p][bold]Jessica35[/bold] wrote: This is all very well but all he has done is prove he can drive a car. Where is the experience of road, pedestrian and other car awareness which comes with time and practice during the learners sessions?[/p][/quote]Very true, I can see him being involved in an accident before too long Dilligaf2010
  • Score: -3

12:06pm Wed 13 Feb 13

zimmer, Wolvecote. says...

Jessica35 wrote:
This is all very well but all he has done is prove he can drive a car. Where is the experience of road, pedestrian and other car awareness which comes with time and practice during the learners sessions?
How about the year he spent on the road as a two-wheeled motorist, that is worth far more in road awareness than five years in a protective box. Also driving lessons these days do not teach you how to drive, they are tutorials in how to pass the test, and sadly do not prepare future drivers for the reality of driving on our roads.
[quote][p][bold]Jessica35[/bold] wrote: This is all very well but all he has done is prove he can drive a car. Where is the experience of road, pedestrian and other car awareness which comes with time and practice during the learners sessions?[/p][/quote]How about the year he spent on the road as a two-wheeled motorist, that is worth far more in road awareness than five years in a protective box. Also driving lessons these days do not teach you how to drive, they are tutorials in how to pass the test, and sadly do not prepare future drivers for the reality of driving on our roads. zimmer, Wolvecote.
  • Score: 3

12:09pm Wed 13 Feb 13

zimmer, Wolvecote. says...

Dilligaf2010 wrote:
Jessica35 wrote:
This is all very well but all he has done is prove he can drive a car. Where is the experience of road, pedestrian and other car awareness which comes with time and practice during the learners sessions?
Very true, I can see him being involved in an accident before too long
I forgot to say, Well done to that young chap, it were a lot easier in my day. by the way Dilly have you flown the nest? It is not so "flashy light" up there these days.
[quote][p][bold]Dilligaf2010[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Jessica35[/bold] wrote: This is all very well but all he has done is prove he can drive a car. Where is the experience of road, pedestrian and other car awareness which comes with time and practice during the learners sessions?[/p][/quote]Very true, I can see him being involved in an accident before too long[/p][/quote]I forgot to say, Well done to that young chap, it were a lot easier in my day. by the way Dilly have you flown the nest? It is not so "flashy light" up there these days. zimmer, Wolvecote.
  • Score: 2

12:19pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Dilligaf2010 says...

zimmer, Wolvecote. wrote:
Dilligaf2010 wrote:
Jessica35 wrote:
This is all very well but all he has done is prove he can drive a car. Where is the experience of road, pedestrian and other car awareness which comes with time and practice during the learners sessions?
Very true, I can see him being involved in an accident before too long
I forgot to say, Well done to that young chap, it were a lot easier in my day. by the way Dilly have you flown the nest? It is not so "flashy light" up there these days.
I don't flash much in the winter, too cold, normal service will be resumed in the coming months ;-)
[quote][p][bold]zimmer, Wolvecote.[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Dilligaf2010[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Jessica35[/bold] wrote: This is all very well but all he has done is prove he can drive a car. Where is the experience of road, pedestrian and other car awareness which comes with time and practice during the learners sessions?[/p][/quote]Very true, I can see him being involved in an accident before too long[/p][/quote]I forgot to say, Well done to that young chap, it were a lot easier in my day. by the way Dilly have you flown the nest? It is not so "flashy light" up there these days.[/p][/quote]I don't flash much in the winter, too cold, normal service will be resumed in the coming months ;-) Dilligaf2010
  • Score: -1

1:17pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Simon_Bradley says...

Could dad take the opportunity to comment!
What wasn't mentioned was that Mark did 400 - 500 Miles driving in the three days, probable equivalent to a minimum of 30 – 40 + lessons. As Zimmer says Driving lessons are tutorials to pass your test, Mark has had far more experience than just driving lessons! I have passed my advanced test with the Institute of Advanced Motorists, this involves commentating you’re driving, I have taught Mark this technique and been practicing while in the passenger seat for the last 12-Months! There are two elements to driving safely, driving a car – Mark has done this off road since he was about 10! (As well as Competing in Motor Sport on Motor Cycles and in Cars since he was 7) And Road craft – this has come with 12-Months commentating from the passenger seat and 12- Months on a Moped.

I am a firefighter and have seen the aftermath of many accidents involving young drivers, I would have not let my son out if I didn’t think he was safe – he was well prepared. Having said that he is still a teenager in a killing machine and I do worry!

I personally think, it’s too easy to get a license, should be at least 12-months supervised driving and a curfew for up to 20 year olds not allowing them to drive between the hours of 11pm and 6am – I am all for better road safety!

Try the commentary driving, even doing it yourself will improve your driving skills!
Could dad take the opportunity to comment! What wasn't mentioned was that Mark did 400 - 500 Miles driving in the three days, probable equivalent to a minimum of 30 – 40 + lessons. As Zimmer says Driving lessons are tutorials to pass your test, Mark has had far more experience than just driving lessons! I have passed my advanced test with the Institute of Advanced Motorists, this involves commentating you’re driving, I have taught Mark this technique and been practicing while in the passenger seat for the last 12-Months! There are two elements to driving safely, driving a car – Mark has done this off road since he was about 10! (As well as Competing in Motor Sport on Motor Cycles and in Cars since he was 7) And Road craft – this has come with 12-Months commentating from the passenger seat and 12- Months on a Moped. I am a firefighter and have seen the aftermath of many accidents involving young drivers, I would have not let my son out if I didn’t think he was safe – he was well prepared. Having said that he is still a teenager in a killing machine and I do worry! I personally think, it’s too easy to get a license, should be at least 12-months supervised driving and a curfew for up to 20 year olds not allowing them to drive between the hours of 11pm and 6am – I am all for better road safety! Try the commentary driving, even doing it yourself will improve your driving skills! Simon_Bradley
  • Score: 3

2:17pm Wed 13 Feb 13

BigAlBiker says...

I say well done to that lad, lets hope he enjoys his time on the road and stays safe.

My own daughter drove for a while before her 17th birthday and gained valuable experience on private ground and passed very quickly, not as quick as this mind, but she like all young drivers do indeed know more than us oldies with regards to some of the signs, and they would never drink drive which some of us did 30 years ago.

Take care young man but have fun.
I say well done to that lad, lets hope he enjoys his time on the road and stays safe. My own daughter drove for a while before her 17th birthday and gained valuable experience on private ground and passed very quickly, not as quick as this mind, but she like all young drivers do indeed know more than us oldies with regards to some of the signs, and they would never drink drive which some of us did 30 years ago. Take care young man but have fun. BigAlBiker
  • Score: 2

2:50pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Dilligaf2010 says...

Simon_Bradley wrote:
Could dad take the opportunity to comment!
What wasn't mentioned was that Mark did 400 - 500 Miles driving in the three days, probable equivalent to a minimum of 30 – 40 + lessons. As Zimmer says Driving lessons are tutorials to pass your test, Mark has had far more experience than just driving lessons! I have passed my advanced test with the Institute of Advanced Motorists, this involves commentating you’re driving, I have taught Mark this technique and been practicing while in the passenger seat for the last 12-Months! There are two elements to driving safely, driving a car – Mark has done this off road since he was about 10! (As well as Competing in Motor Sport on Motor Cycles and in Cars since he was 7) And Road craft – this has come with 12-Months commentating from the passenger seat and 12- Months on a Moped.

I am a firefighter and have seen the aftermath of many accidents involving young drivers, I would have not let my son out if I didn’t think he was safe – he was well prepared. Having said that he is still a teenager in a killing machine and I do worry!

I personally think, it’s too easy to get a license, should be at least 12-months supervised driving and a curfew for up to 20 year olds not allowing them to drive between the hours of 11pm and 6am – I am all for better road safety!

Try the commentary driving, even doing it yourself will improve your driving skills!
I agree with your comments about it being too easy to get a license.
I think we should adopt the German system, 6 months in the classroom learning about the car, not just driving it, first aid, and something that I presume is similar to our Theory Test. (I learnt to drive before it was introduced, so have no idea what it's like, although have passed various theory driving theory tests in the Forces)
Once the classroom phase is completed, tuition starts in a small car, and includes motorway driving, with the test eventually being taken in a larger, more powerful car, having progressed to that stage through a range of cars.
Hopefully your Son will have considerably more success on the road, than far too many youngsters, and with the added information you've provided, I think he probably will.
[quote][p][bold]Simon_Bradley[/bold] wrote: Could dad take the opportunity to comment! What wasn't mentioned was that Mark did 400 - 500 Miles driving in the three days, probable equivalent to a minimum of 30 – 40 + lessons. As Zimmer says Driving lessons are tutorials to pass your test, Mark has had far more experience than just driving lessons! I have passed my advanced test with the Institute of Advanced Motorists, this involves commentating you’re driving, I have taught Mark this technique and been practicing while in the passenger seat for the last 12-Months! There are two elements to driving safely, driving a car – Mark has done this off road since he was about 10! (As well as Competing in Motor Sport on Motor Cycles and in Cars since he was 7) And Road craft – this has come with 12-Months commentating from the passenger seat and 12- Months on a Moped. I am a firefighter and have seen the aftermath of many accidents involving young drivers, I would have not let my son out if I didn’t think he was safe – he was well prepared. Having said that he is still a teenager in a killing machine and I do worry! I personally think, it’s too easy to get a license, should be at least 12-months supervised driving and a curfew for up to 20 year olds not allowing them to drive between the hours of 11pm and 6am – I am all for better road safety! Try the commentary driving, even doing it yourself will improve your driving skills![/p][/quote]I agree with your comments about it being too easy to get a license. I think we should adopt the German system, 6 months in the classroom learning about the car, not just driving it, first aid, and something that I presume is similar to our Theory Test. (I learnt to drive before it was introduced, so have no idea what it's like, although have passed various theory driving theory tests in the Forces) Once the classroom phase is completed, tuition starts in a small car, and includes motorway driving, with the test eventually being taken in a larger, more powerful car, having progressed to that stage through a range of cars. Hopefully your Son will have considerably more success on the road, than far too many youngsters, and with the added information you've provided, I think he probably will. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 0

8:35pm Wed 13 Feb 13

H.J.Harris says...

Jessica35 wrote:
This is all very well but all he has done is prove he can drive a car. Where is the experience of road, pedestrian and other car awareness which comes with time and practice during the learners sessions?
Hopefully his year of experience riding a moped will have given him some road awareness.
He may well have more skill in this way than some who have never driven without someone beside them.
[quote][p][bold]Jessica35[/bold] wrote: This is all very well but all he has done is prove he can drive a car. Where is the experience of road, pedestrian and other car awareness which comes with time and practice during the learners sessions?[/p][/quote]Hopefully his year of experience riding a moped will have given him some road awareness. He may well have more skill in this way than some who have never driven without someone beside them. H.J.Harris
  • Score: 1

12:39am Thu 14 Feb 13

Simon_Bradley says...

Dad again!

I would like to say that to ride two wheels is a good experience to prove what a lot of other bad drivers are on the road, everybody should experience this prior to driving a car, and see how many people "don't see bikes", and pull out in front of you!

Having said that, manufactures are to blame to an extent with too wide "A - Pillars", the blind spot is horrendous in a Zafiria (two a posts) and quite wide in my Freelander all too easy to hide a cyclist or motor cyclist!

All give ways in town should be "Stops", pause double check before moving! Fewer cyclists killed!

I do remember driving a fire engine on blue lights, your desire is to proceed as fast as you can, my crew shouted to me at one time "STOP", and I did. If I hadn't I would have killed a cyclist. I re-enacted this incident as I got stressed, I found that the cyclist had been hidden behind the lorry door mirror. Less haste more speed? Less haste, less deaths!

Also all Motor Cyclists and Cyclists must be made to wear dayglo Yellow, even in the day, a rider on a cloudy day looks the same colour as the sky!
Dad again! I would like to say that to ride two wheels is a good experience to prove what a lot of other bad drivers are on the road, everybody should experience this prior to driving a car, and see how many people "don't see bikes", and pull out in front of you! Having said that, manufactures are to blame to an extent with too wide "A - Pillars", the blind spot is horrendous in a Zafiria (two a posts) and quite wide in my Freelander all too easy to hide a cyclist or motor cyclist! All give ways in town should be "Stops", pause double check before moving! Fewer cyclists killed! I do remember driving a fire engine on blue lights, your desire is to proceed as fast as you can, my crew shouted to me at one time "STOP", and I did. If I hadn't I would have killed a cyclist. I re-enacted this incident as I got stressed, I found that the cyclist had been hidden behind the lorry door mirror. Less haste more speed? Less haste, less deaths! Also all Motor Cyclists and Cyclists must be made to wear dayglo Yellow, even in the day, a rider on a cloudy day looks the same colour as the sky! Simon_Bradley
  • Score: 1

1:12am Thu 14 Feb 13

Dilligaf2010 says...

"Also all Motor Cyclists and Cyclists must be made to wear dayglo Yellow, even in the day, a rider on a cloudy day looks the same colour as the sky!"....
.....Hear! Hear! Bicycles should all be fitted with lights too, with all the technology available, there's no reason why LEDs can't be fitted into the frames, so there's no excuse for not having any, dynamos could be fitted into the rear wheel hub, rather than having the ones that rub against the tyre slowing you down.
"Also all Motor Cyclists and Cyclists must be made to wear dayglo Yellow, even in the day, a rider on a cloudy day looks the same colour as the sky!".... .....Hear! Hear! Bicycles should all be fitted with lights too, with all the technology available, there's no reason why LEDs can't be fitted into the frames, so there's no excuse for not having any, dynamos could be fitted into the rear wheel hub, rather than having the ones that rub against the tyre slowing you down. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 0

12:19pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Sid Hunt says...

"Also all Motor Cyclists and Cyclists must be made to wear dayglo Yellow, even in the day, a rider on a cloudy day looks the same colour as the sky!"

If you can't see a motorcycle having the rider wear a yellow coat will make no difference.
"Also all Motor Cyclists and Cyclists must be made to wear dayglo Yellow, even in the day, a rider on a cloudy day looks the same colour as the sky!" If you can't see a motorcycle having the rider wear a yellow coat will make no difference. Sid Hunt
  • Score: 1

9:51pm Sat 9 Mar 13

sandbagger says...

He's ''''been a fan of motoring, lots of off-road stuff, moped-ing, mechanic, etc'''' = all the hall marks of a crash prone individual whose turn will come in the near future, within 6 months probably, 18 months at best. Just pray no innocent road user gets splattered all over the roads, is what I say.
He's ''''been a fan of motoring, lots of off-road stuff, moped-ing, mechanic, etc'''' = all the hall marks of a crash prone individual whose turn will come in the near future, within 6 months probably, 18 months at best. Just pray no innocent road user gets splattered all over the roads, is what I say. sandbagger
  • Score: 0

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