The mobile gamer who found a real-life break through esports - The Race

The mobile gamer who found a real-life break through esports

Aug 10 2020
By Nathan Quinn

Qualifiers for season three of World’s Fastest Gamer are underway, with a place up for grabs for the fastest player on the mobile app Gear.Club.

In both of the earlier runnings of World’s Fastest Gamer, one competitor earned their spot through the app.

Last year it was Canadian Riley Gerster who got the opportunity to test his driving ability in the real world and go up against some of the fastest professional simracers.

Gerster describes himself as a more casual gamer who enjoys playing racing games but doesn’t take it as seriously as a professional simracer.

That is reflected in the sort of racing video games he plays, which include Trackmania – a fast paced, arcade racing game series.

He was able to top the timesheets last year after dedicating an enormous amount of time to the Gear.Club time trials.

World's Fastest Gamer 2019 Finals Day 1

“It becomes part of the daily routine, it takes a lot of practice and a lot of hours and to qualify for World’s Fastest Gamer,” Gerster told The Race.

“You’ve got a month to squeeze out every little thousandth you can here and there and it means a lot of repetition, a lot of practice and a lot of muscle memory.

“The way I see it if you’re racing, if you’re pushing the limits, if you have the ability to spin out or wreck, what you do, even in unrealistic racing games, is still find that limit.

“That isn’t much different when you’re in a real car, if you push a little too hard you’re going to spin.

“You don’t have pedals or the analogue stick so they have to dumb it down a little bit, but still you can absolutely crash and wreck your car and push the limits too far.

“It’s not a whole lot different from real life even though obviously you don’t get the g-force or full throttle control.

“But you take a really good race car driver from the real world, they’re going to have a one-up on the typical person – those skills are transferable.”

Gerster survived the first round of eliminations in World’s Fastest Gamer, but was knocked out in the second wave as the number of gamers fell from eight to six.

When he participated in World’s Fastest Gamer he wasn’t overly confident in how well he would do compared to the other racers, but he surprised himself during a time trial at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

World's Fastest Gamer 2019 Finals La Rooftop Race

“Going into it I acted confident but realistically I didn’t think I stood a chance driving real cars,” Gerster recalled.

“I like racing but those guys are on simulators and lots of them have sponsors and a lot of them had real-world racing experience already, but then they put us on track and I ended up a lot closer than I think anyone expected.

“I was driving one of the faster cars for the time trials but I had the second-fastest time out of everybody and when they told me that I was like ‘what? No way I drove faster than all these guys!’.

“That blew my mind and right then I was like ‘what am I saying I don’t have a chance, I’ve just proved to myself and everybody that I do’.

“That’s when I realised ‘wow, I can actually do this, this isn’t just some crazy dream’.”

World's Fastest Gamer 2019 Finals Day 1

James Baldwin won last year’s World’s Fastest Gamer competition and has gone on to be a race winner in British GT.

Whilst Gerster hasn’t been afforded the same experience as Baldwin, his time in World’s Fastest Gamer gave him the chance to live out a childhood ambition.

“I gave up doing this kind of thing so long ago, yet here I am now, I’m 25 and I have all these opportunities popping up,” Gerster said.

“There was a point when I was a kid writing to companies to get a sponsorship to get a go-kart but I didn’t have much support back then.

“I didn’t have any real-world racing experience at all because it’s so expensive, but with video games, even as a broke kid, you can still figure out a way to get some sort of a simulator.

“I put time into racing games even though I haven’t got the full simulator rig in my house like some of those guys do.

“Anyone who’s used simulators, or even something like Gear.Club, the rush you get when you really push the limits, it’s not that much different from the rush you get when you drive real cars – a lot less dangerous and expensive though.”

The second round of Gear.Club’s World’s Fastest Gamer qualifiers is running through to August 16.

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