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Who can drive a minibus?The driving entitlement for a minibus is now referred to as a D1 licence (D1+E for towing a trailer). If you hold a driving licence issued prior to 1st January 1997, permitting you to drive Group A (or B for automatic) vehicles, you can drive minibuses in the UK but not in mainland Europe, provided you are over 21 years of age. (On new style licences the corresponding categories which allow the entitlement to drive mini-buses are listed as B and D1). i.e your licence will show a group A (B for automatics) on an old style green or pink licence or as category B and D1 (not for hire or reward) on a pink and green photocard licence. That being said, driving of the minibus must not be for hire or financial reward and the mini-bus must have no more than 17 seats, including that of the driver. Drivers who passed their test after 1st January 1997 are not given this category and are now required to pass PCV minibus theory, medical and practical tests to obtain a D1 licence. In these circumstances however, you may drive a minibus with up to 16 seats only in the UK provided that you will be driving on behalf of a non-commercial body for social purposes, but not for hire or reward unless under a permit. You will also need to be over 21 years of age and have held a car (category B) licence for at least 2 years. The services you are providing must be on a voluntary basis and the minibus maximum weight must be no more than 3.5 tonnes (3500 kg) excluding any special equipment for the carriage of disabled passengers (4250kg). Drivers aged 70 and over will also need to meet the health standards for driving a vehicle (i.e. minibus) which comes with the D1 class. If you are driving for hire and reward under a Section 19 permit and you are being paid, you can only do so if you have passed a further test to obtain Category D1 Licence. To summarise: If you have passed your driving test on or after January 1st 1997 and you wish to drive a minibus with a gross weigh in excess of 3.5 tonnes you will have to pass a D1 driving test. If you passed your car driving test before 1 January 1997, you automatically gained a licence with Category B and D1 entitlement, or Groups A and B on older licences, qualifying you to drive minibuses as well as private cars.
Good day for the Harrow U17 girls team at Finsbury Park as Lilian Cottrell won the race and Rachel Haddow was 3rd (out of 5!) The field was depleted by the inter counties match but, as I said to them, you can't do any better than beating the people who were there and Lilian looked strong. They will also have won the team event as there were only single runners from the other three teams!
Elsewhere the Clubs masters were in action at Shuttleworth for the SEAA XC championships where Mark Cursons was 8th V50 and Chris Finill was 15th with Mike Lepps making up a scoring team in 59th spot - the team placed 6th. Graeme Jones was back in action after a recent injury and placed well to take 27th spot in the V40 race. Late confirmation that team captain Jim Cooper was also in the V40 race and finished 5th having raced hard trying to hang onto third place - hopefully Jim's official time will come through shortly!