Robots do battle in Ipswich

IT'S not often that Ipswich can boast of being home to a world champion but one man who holds that title is today preparing to show off his talents in his home town.

IT'S not often that Ipswich can boast of being home to a world champion but one man who holds that title is today preparing to show off his talents in his home town.

Ed Hoppitt and his team mates Tim and Meral Bence are the current reigning Robot Wars world champions after triumphing on the cult hit television series that sees engineers and robot makers battle it out with their home-made fighting machines.

Ed, 29, and the team scooped the world championship in 2005 with their robot called Storm Two.

Despite having just nine months experience as roboteers - as they are known on the show - the team and their robot beat off all competition to make it to the top of their game. And with the contest only held once every two years they are now gearing up to find out when they will have to defend their title.

But before they do battle again against the other championship contenders, the team are returning to an Ipswich theatre with their own Robot Wars style show.

Called Extreme Fighting Machines, the show was a sell-out last time it visited the New Wolsey Theatre in October and now it is back for another run.

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Hosted by Ed and Team Storm, the show sees roboteers travel from throughout the UK and Europe to take part in robot battles while the crowd cheers them on.

“It is such a different night to the New Wolsey typical audience,” said Ed.

“We did four shows before and sold out every show and within a week they said they wanted us back. I think about 80 per cent of the people there had never been to the New Wolsey before.”

Since winning Robot Wars, Team Storm have been in demand for their robot building talents and Ed has visited schools to teach youngsters about building their own.

“It is much more interesting for kids to be told someone is coming in to teach them about robots than to say someone is coming in to talk about engines,” said Ed.

“It's not just about beating the robots up, but we talk about why each one wins and how it was built and you are sneaking in some education without them even noticing. Design and technology didn't enthuse me at school, it seemed to just be about making boxes out of MDF. Now, they can have a go and building the robots and fighting them and then all the kids want to do is go back and work out what they need to do to fix them again.”

When Extreme Fighting Machines arrives at the New Wolsey theatre tomorrow Ed will host a series of battles between all the contestants.

“We never know what will happen,” he said.

“You can't rehearse it because you just don't know who will win or which way it will go, you just have to turn up and run with it.”

Extreme Fighting Machines will be at the New Wolsey Theatre tomorrow and Sunday at noon, 4pm and 7pm.

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