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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org