TORNADO - The Team with the Comedy Flying Cow

This was the second two day charity event we have attended. It was huge fun, despite the weather trying to dampen our spirits, quite literally... This was the first event that Dave Jones and his team from Wilsons School had organised outside of the school, and they had done an excellent job of building a sturdy and sheltered arena pretty much in the middle of a field. It was part of the two day Kent Car Show, held at Danson Park in Bexley.


Saturday 14th
There were quite a few robots at the event, most of whom were running for at least part of the time. Robots that ran on Saturday included Behemoth, Bigger Brother, Anthrax, Tiberius 2, Wolverine, Tornado, Typhoon, M2, Arnold Arnold Terminegger, Miss Struts, Rita Rocks, Dantomkia, Big Pants, Sher Khan, and Overkill. Also present were the Storm team, Lightning, the Discovery Channel/Now TV film crew, Mike and Brian with Plunderbird 4, and Toecutter 2.

When we arrived it was raining a little, and it got even wetter! Many thanks must go to the Behemoth team for letting us share their gazebo. We set up beside Storm, who were present to display their chassis and prototype, and fundraise (by flogging short goes on the RC house robot toys for a 1 a time!). Soon we were found by some people with the Robot Wars Series 4 guide...
Our first run was a quick arena test along with Bigger Brother. We were to try out the figure-of-eight race idea, but a few laps into the test both Bigger Brother and Tornado had problems - they simply stopped, while we drove round in a circle, one side on full power when the kill was switched to run. As we both failed at exactly the same moment, then the instant assumption was interference - but it proved otherwise.
Bigger Brother had broken a battery connection, and Dave found a 2mm long slither of solder in our control box that was shorting out a couple of tracks. That slither must have been in there all the way through the Earls Court (Extreme) filming, and there it had caused us no problems at all! How lucky are we?

The first proper event was a repeat of our test run, a figure 8 race against Bigger Brother but this time with a watching crowd. We started well and were soon a few laps ahead, so Ian Watts gave up racing and decided to flip us against the arena side instead! So much for fair play and all that... Ian said "if you can't win - cheat!" - maybe not the most honourable of philosophies...

We were soon back in the tug of war event, against Wolverine. We pulled them about without too much problem - Gareth complaining of complete lack of traction - until the rope broke! Gareth then realised that he had lost drive on one side - a problem that was traced to his Derek Foxwell interface. Behemoth then fought and beat Typhoon (minus its shell).
We were to be up against Tiberius next, but he had a problem and couldn't compete. Everyone's attention was distracted for a bit while a very loud jet bike (well, a V8 trike with a jet engine strapped on the back) drove round the main arena and made lots of smoke.
M2 stepped in to fill the place left by Tiberius. They put up surprising opposition for a for a 2WD robot, probably because they chose to pull in reverse. This put us into the final against Behemoth, but before that, we had a little scrap with a washing machine, and Miss Struts and Rita Rocks took a wander around the arena.

Behemoth's 4WD drivetrain made them tough opposition, but we still managed to pull them to our end of the arena, and we did our party trick - loads of tyre smoke! We even managed to scorch the arena floor!

The next big battle, towards the end of the afternoon, was an everyone against Dantomkia melee! The event was due to be Dantomkia's last outing, so Mike wanted it destroyed - but most of the teams seemed more interested in going for each other, and we were one of the few robots who kept going for Dantomkia. M2, Sher Khan, Overkill, Bigger Brother and Tornado made it into the arena, along with Big Pants (who didn't go anywhere). Despite our best efforts, Dantomkia was still going at the end!

And if you even questioned if Ed is mad enough to be a roboteer...
In an attempt to do some proper damage to Dantomkia, Tiberius staged a crush on them. Tiberius had no problem with the plain steel shell, but where Dantomkia has thick plastic reinforcement, Tiberius made little progress and then broke its own welds! Meanwhile, Ian Watts (Bigger Brother) tried to catch Tornado out while Tiberius was crushing - but we were watching! It kept the crowd entertained...

So the last battle of the day was a three way Melee - Dantomkia vs Bigger Brother vs Tornado. There was no clear winner at the end, so as this was supposed to be Dantomkia's last battle before retirement, with a bit of prompting from Ed (Storm), the crowd gave them the victory!

We stayed around after the Car Show closed, as Dave Jones and his team had organised a BBQ-come-buffet evening meal. From there we retreated to the hotel bar with Storm, and then to my parents place in Kent for the night.

Sunday 15th
There were fewer robots around today, and even fewer were running. Those running included M2, Wolverine, Bigger Brother, Tornado and Toecutter 2.

Others present were Overkill (who had gearbox problems), Storm (who were displaying the prototype and fundrasing as yesterday), Big Pants (who had been fighting drive problems all weekend), plus Daisy Chopper and Lemming (brought along by the organisers), and the lightweight Ruff Stuff.

Mike Lambert also brought Dantomkia back out of retirement for the day - given everyones lack of sucess in damaging it yesterday - and his daughter Kiara ("the antichrist") came along for the day too. She didn't half put me in my place for pronouncing her name wrong...!

First fight of the day was a multi-robot tag team - tagging out of the arena as one robot died or became immobilised, and replacing batteries and joining the end of the queue waiting to go in again. It worked quite well until all the robots either killed all their batteries or became immobile... Each team was represented by either having a polystyrene cup over the robots aerial (Cups) or not (No Cups) - at least until no-one could be bothered replacing the cups or keeping track on who was winning.

Once everybody was going again, we entered an everyone in the arena tag team - Tornado vs Dantomkia, with Toecutter 2, M2 and Bigger Brother also in the arena. For a change, Bryan was driving Tornado, but as usual, it decended into chaos, with everyone fighting everyone else. The only robot left moving at the end was Bigger Brother (everyone else was either immobilsed or broken), so they were declared the winner.
Bryan continued driving; fighting and beating Dantomkia. Then various kitchen appliances that were thrown into the arena, and both Bryan and Andrew had a good go at destroying them...

The Bigger Brother team wanted to destroy the junk in the arena too, so they entered, along with the remains of Overkill's trailer! Bryan took over the driving again, and after Bigger Brother flipped the trailer upside down, Bryan just had to drive inside and then around the arena with it on top... As we had been going for longer, our batteries died and we had to retire, letting Bigger Brother throw the junk about until they took part of the arena to pieces... Bryan drove well, but his style is a bit different to mine - being continuous full throttle - wheras I only use full throttle 90% of the time, honest...!

In the afternoon came the Storm match. Ed drove Tornado, while Tim drove Dantomkia and Andy drove Wolverine. The winner? Storm, of course! (In fact Ed, driving Tornado, was declared the winner.) We did another comparison of the Kiel and Hawker batteries in another of the afternoons battles - again the Hawkers appeared slightly better. Storm did a roaring trade throughout both days with the radio controlled Shunt and Matilda...
We finally got to meet Suren who brought along Supernova in the afternoon - with a Lynch motor powered 30kg disc! It was spun up in the arena (fortunately when there weren't too many people around), and it took quite a while to slow down again - that's the problem with solenoid control... Also Suren was fighting range problems and couldn't take Supernova more that a couple of feet from the transmitter.

The day ended with another everybody versus Dantomkia melee - and yet again, Dantomkia was still going at the end...

Have a look at the official Robots@War site.

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