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Hornchurch robot wars youngster enjoys record-breaking debut

Gareth Anstee, 19 with his robot Distopia Gareth Anstee, 19 with his robot Distopia

Thursday, April 24, 2014
10:03 AM

A 19-year-old has been busy breaking records as he and his trusty robot dismantle competitors across the country.

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Gareth's featherweight robot, DefectorGareth's featherweight robot, Defector

Roboteer Gareth Antsee, of Hornchurch, progressed further than any other newcomer in history when he took part in the Gadget Show Live RoboChallenge at the weekend.

The mechanical engineering student came fourth in the world’s top featherweight competition with his robot Defector, seeing off challengers from Australia and Portugal in the process.

Though he did not leave as champion, Gareth is delighted to be involved in the tour, which he has dreamed of joining since watching Robot Wars on television as a child.

“I was always looking to get involved,” he said. “I went to an event in 2004, which I found footage of on YouTube five years later. The guy who uploaded it was one of the roboteers, who represented Hornchurch on the show, and I got in contact with him.

“The company, Roaming Robots, bought the Robot Wars brand last year. Now we are hoping to get it back on TV, there’s a few companies interested in it.”

As a youngster, Gareth would build custom remote-control cars “just to see if he could do it”, and last year splashed out on his first machine, former show favourite and 2011 UK Heavyweight champion, Ripper.

He admits the hobby can be an expensive one, but the former Campion School student believes the thrill of the battle is worth it, despite his pre-show nerves.

“You have to make sure the robot is in working order,” he said. “I get videos of the competitors and see what their weaknesses are. It’s as much in the driving and tactics as the robot itself. My robot has really weak body armour really, and it was taking on the most powerful spinners and it beat them.”

Gareth’s mother, Pauline, said her and his father, Steven, were proud of their son and hope he can go further.

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