TORNADO - The Team with the Comedy Flying Cow

This was the third Robot Rumble we have attended in Debenham - and it's always an event we enjoy. It's deservedly developing a reputation as the best event outside of the filming. The format changed for this years event - to make things a little less frantic the competition ran as only one per day but still with two audience sessions, while the event ran over three days rather than just two. The competition was divided into Up and Coming robots and Stars, with the Star robots being seeded. Given our performance at last years event (two first places and one second), we were seeded #1!

Eddy and Roy as always were the organisers, and this year had managed to organise Makrolon screening for the arena. It's the first time this has been seen at a charity event, and it shows what can be achieved with an arena if you persevere! The judging panel was headed up by Alan Gribble from Pussycat. Pussycat itself was on display in the audience holding area, along with Razer.

There were a lot of robots attending over the weekend, and not only heavyweights - there were featherweights and antweights as well. Robots present at some point included Storm, Chaos 2, Cassius 3, Bigger Brother, Dominator 2, M2, Dantomkia, Shredder (doing beer barrel shredding demonstrations), Roobarb, King Humphrey, Henry 3, Wolverine, Toecutter 2, Axe Awe, Steel Sandwich, Edgehog, the Stag, Vader, and of course Tornado.

Although the event started on the Saturday, Tornado was not running, because I (Andrew) was at my friend Neil's wedding. Bryan couldn't make it to the event at all, so Dave and I headed to the event in the evening. I arrived after midnight, and found that the roboteers were split across two Travelodges this year! Fortunately there were spare rooms and there was no need to disturb Dave.

I had no idea what time I needed to be at the leisure centre, and I left the Travelodge a bit early, giving the guys from Team Geeza a lift. Dave had got all our stuff inside the previous day, so when we were asked by Andrew Norton to do our safety check, I was quite happy to do so. But something was wrong - with the link in, nothing powered up! With increasing panic I waited for Dave to turn up, until it was getting late enough to have a go at fixing whatever was wrong myself - and I found that I had not been plugging the link in properly. DOH! I'd had a late night, as it seems had some of the other roboteers... Apparently Vinny from Razer had been speaking Latin?!

Our first fight of the Stars competition was against King Humphrey - even more solid than the earlier Humphrey, and this time with a powerful axe. We found out how good the axe is - Mick put Humphrey's axe through our polycarbonate several times, making holes in our laminated Titanium section and knocking out a big section above one of the motors. It went to a judges decision and we were given the fight. We had a bit of patching to do before the next bout...

The all new improved Roobarb was our next opponent. We have a bit of a reputation for bending the old Roobarb, but the new one was a completely different matter - the only damage they sustained was another aluminium ram bracket breaking (they broke another when we met at Brighton Robot Mania) - both the Roobarb guys and ourselves were very impressed. Again, the judges gave us the fight.

Chaos 2 was to be against us in the semi final. George had made some improvements, using better tyres and a castor on the rear so Chaos could turn better, and I was worried that he would get the better of us. I didn't want to give him a chance to do so if I could avoid it, and it turned out that I didn't give him much chance. I got Tornado underneath Chaos, and then rammed it into the arena wall - one of the spikes on the scoup damaged his drive chain, and the impact bent Chaos' chassis. Maybe I should have been a bit more gentle... We won the fight as Chaos had lost drive on one side.

The final was against the new M2 - shorter than the old machine with the drive wheels further forward, and a wider flipping and self righting arm, M2 is now a machine to be reckoned with. As with the one before, it's a seriously well built robot, and Paul Cooper deserved to be driving it in the final! Fortunatley our scoop was able to get underneath M2's flipper, but it wasn't a one sided match at all, and M2 did the most damage to our scoop that any robot has managed, just through ramming each other! The judges gave us the fight, and we had won the Stars competition for the day!

We spent the evening in Ipswich with Ed from Storm and Sam (standing in for Ed's absent teammates) from Tiberius 2.

The third and final day of the Rumble saw us up against Grim Reaper in the first round. They had been having some problems with their flipper ram bending their chassis and putting their drivetrain out of alignment, so we tried to go fairly easy, but still give the crowd a show. The judges awarded us the fight.

Our next fight was against Bigger Brother. We pushed them around quite a bit, getting underneath them a few times, and then exactly the same thing happened as we had done to Chaos 2 yesterday - they lost drive on one side as we caught one of their drive chains. Fortunately the damage wasn't too bad and Bigger Brother was soon running again - but we were through to the semi finals.

Dominator 2 was our semi final opponent - and they had a score to settle, given how we had beaten them in the final at Brighton Robot Mania. And they settled it... The small arena at Debenham made it hard to outmanoeuvre them as I had done in Brighton, and they got at least four good hits in - one on our scoop, one on our rear chassis, and one on the same patched motor side that King Humphrey had damaged yesterday. But the worst was in the Titanium laminate right above the speed controllers! They went about two inches in, and we were very lucky that the tip of their axe missed all the power cables and the two bus bars above the controllers. We were also getting the failsafe light flashing on towards the end of the fight, and I was loosing control for brief periods, suggesting a motor had shorted to chassis again. Indeed one had - a fans had moved again and was touching the windings. But it didn't matter though, as we were out of the competition now anyway.

Dominator 2 went on to win the final, which was against M2. Dave and I packed our stuff before the competition was over and headed back to Sawtry as soon as the event finished, stopping for a burger at the services along with Kevin from Stinger.

(Pictures to follow)

Have a look at the official Robot Rumble site.

| Home || Build Diary || Official Merchandise || Site Map || E-Mail |