TORNADO - The Team with the Comedy Flying Cow

This event, the Southfield Robot Fayre, was held at the Southfields School for Girls, in Kettering. We had been asked to perform tech checks on the competing robots, and it was good to see such checks being performed at one of the smaller events. There were quite a few robots present, and these included 101, Anarchy, King Buxton, Tornado, Behemoth, Judge Shred 2 1/2, TX-108, Dantomkia (one of the first events for the new machine), Bigger Brother, Chaos 2, Lambsy, The Alien, Kan Opener, Terrorhurtz, Hydra, Tiger Shark and M2.

We arrived early in order to perform the tech checks - we weren't quite the first there, but it meant that we were able to get started straight away. Bryan and I spent most of the morning performing tech checks, while Dave organised transmitter control - they did not have a peg board to control frequency clashes, so Dave had to organise manual checks of which robot was on what frequency. This was a little surprising given that the school had been so insistent on having technical checks... We found we spent most of the morning working and were not able to take part in or enjoy the event because of this.

The arena was set up outside, with the crowd contained a good distance away behind the playground fence, which was at the top of a grass bank or small wall. The arena was made from large chip building boards, with a row of hay bales surrounding it - not exactly enough to stop a heavyweight robot! It had been set up for a pinball type game, with one robot acting as "house robot" and guarding a protection zone in a corner.


The weather was not fantastic, and just as we were due to go into the arena with our opponent Tiger Shark, it tipped down! All outdoor events had to be cancelled for a while, and we left Tornado under cover outside.

When eventually the rain eased off enough to restart, we were house robot first (with Bryan driving).

Then it was our turn to play competitor. I (Andrew) was driving, and doing fairly well... (Look at the water coming off the tyres, especially in the top left picture above!)
That was until the standing water on the arena and rain got the better of our electronics, and Tornado started going round in circles, with the right hand wheels stuck in a permanent slow reverse! I managed to drive Tornado past Tiger Shark and into the tractor tyre target - which conveniently fell on top of Tornado and stopped it. We called a cease, but had still clocked up a very respectable total.

Given the problems we were having the organisers stopped outside events again and waited until the rain stopped completely and everything dried out a bit before resuming the contests. We had a bit of drying out to do - it appeared that water had got into the connectors between the control box and speed controllers, but nothing appeared to be damaged and once it had been given time to dry it all worked again, and we covered the connectors in gaffa tape just to be sure!

The arena was cleared for a tug of war contest. We were up against Hydra, whom we had first met at the Series 5 filming. They're another 4WD 36V go-kart tyred machine, and well done to them, because they beat us! Hydra were in turn finally beated by Kan Opener as Hydra's batteries were dying.

Terrorhurtz went into the arena for a quick demo of it's extremely powerful axe - but it had a few technical problems, and broke down.

We went in again for a final fight with Behemoth and King Buxton - against a washing machine! We were all pushing it about and bashing it, but we had to stop when Si put one of King Buxtons spikes through our side armour, damaging a drive sprocket and causing the chain to come off.
Next the prizes were presented. Somehow or other we had gained second overall in the pinball game, and we won a Carlsberg Export T-Shirt for our efforts... The team gave it to me, as I'm the only one tall enough for it not to look like a tent on!
The school then held a charity auction, selling off bits of robots. We had taken the chance to have a clearout of the garage and so gave them a big stock of old Series 4 armour, and the front and back of the Series 4 chassis! One of our old front panels, with a hole in it from Dead Metal and lots of scratches from Wheely Big Cheese's wheels, went for 1.05...

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