TORNADO - The Team with the Comedy Flying Cow


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5/1/02 - Andrew moved house from Huntingdon to Sawtry. Tornado has always been built and housed at Daves in Sawtry, but until now more of the team lived in Huntingdon! It will make working on Tornado easier and give us more space (another garage) to store stuff in.

6/1/02 - Trip to the kart track - picked up a few more tyres.

10/1/02 - Got a call from Mentorn - they want us to fight as well as display at the filming of TNN Extreme Warriors 2 later this month.

13/1/02 - Working on the robot, getting it ready for TNN Extreme 2. Managed to wreck a motor whilst trying to remove the pinion - it was jammed on! The armature moved on the shaft, pulling and breaking the windings, and pushing off the fan. However, the motor was already on the way out, because one of the armature plates had moved and was cutting into the windings, as can be seen in the photo. (The motor has since been repaired - it took a 2 ton fly press to push the armature back into place, and we then had it rewound!)

Weighed the assembled machine with the scoop and pneumatic tyres - it came out at 98.5kg.

14/1/02 - Many people don't get to see what happens behind the scenes of robotic combat, and here is a little insight into something I doubt many people are aware of. We are part of a small group of roboteers who are concerned about the safety of charity events. As such we are putting together a document with some ideas for possible safety guidelines - but we all need to be happy with its contents before it is released! We've looked at the proposed "first release" version and we think there's quite a lot of work to do before it is released. We'll be busy for a while...

16/1/02 - Worked on the safety document in the evening.

20/1/02 - More work on the safety document.

21/1/02 - Spent the evening continuing on the safety document.

22/1/02 - Another evening spent working on the arena safety document!

23/1/02 - Guess what - worked on the safety document again...

24/1/02 - Packed our cars ready for the TNN Extreme Warriors 2 filming. Continued on the arena safety document.

25/1/02 - Extreme shown on TV - we beat Chaos 2 for the second time on TV, this time in the challenge belt. Start of our static display at TNN Extreme Warriors 2 - the filming was happening at Sheperton Studios. On display were Kat 3, Terrorhurtz, Razer, Chaos 2 and Bigger Brother as well as Tornado. We arrived at about 4.30, and stayed until about 9pm when we retired to the hotel bar.

26/1/02 - More static displaying at the TNN Extreme Warriors 2 filming. We were field trialling Eds telemetry system but could only get it to work for short runs - anything over 20 minutes and it failed - we suspect that there's a memory fault on the logger board. Panic Attack arrived in the evening to replace Terrorhurtz. We had a good look round the pits at the problems the American competitors where having - and we saw several of the Briggs & Stratton type Lynch motors seized, broken or burnt out. We spent most of the day signing autographs - lots and lots of autographs....! Our tech checks were performed in the evening, at which point Kat 3 found a sweet wrapper in their removable link, which they had left on the bench while we all had been eating our evening meal. Apparently it's a very similar thing to what happened to Destructabubble in Series 5 - except Destructabubble didn't spot it, their link popped out and they lost their second round fight. We also learnt who was to be fighting who tomorrow - we had drawn Wo Wot (Adam Clark's latest invention - a pneumatic/electric grabber and lifter) while Kat 3 had drawn Razer. We retired to the hotel as the evening drew on, but had some fun trying to find Dave the correct room (for a while he was in the same room as Adam Clark!) and we did some more work on the safety document.

27/1/02 - Our third day at the TNN Extreme Warriors 2 filming - but this time we were fighting in the International Championship. But there was controversy as soon as we arrived - after almost all the teams had gone home last night, the Razer team had been filmed lifting the armour panels from their opponent Kat 3 and running round it with a tape measure.
Our first fight was also against a UK robot - Adam Clark's Wo Wot - we won fairly easily after pushing it into Sgt Bash, who squeezed one of Wo Wot's batteries, making it loose power. The next UK fight was Kat 3 vs Razer - Kat 3 lost power when Razer came down between their batteries. In the American first round General Chompsalot beat Brawler and Manta beat The Joker.
Our second fight was against Razer. Unlike at Extreme 1 we were not daunted - it was time to play our trump card and reveal our anti-crusher weapon! Razer were dumbfounded - understandably they asked for it to be weighted and measured, but as we knew already it followed the rules to the letter. Everyone who saw it was either amused or speechless! In the fight, the chain came off the disc almost immediately, but the weapon served its purpose and Razer could not reach the chassis. We pushed them pretty much where we pleased, repeatedly into the CPZs - but the house robots repeatedly refused to attack Razer, and instead went for us! Even when Sgt Bash did get a hold on Razer, he let go almost instantly without doing any damage. Talk about not fair! We had words with Chris Reynolds after the fight, who claimed he could not see what was going on. But the judges were apparently told to ignore any house robot intervention because they had not done as they should. It went to a judges decision - and we won on a 2:1 split decision!
Razer did get one small nick in the back corner of our chassis, and a little dent in the front armour, but the ACW was a wreck! The front bars and disc were mangled, and the motor had been punched out of the frame completely. The Razer team, after seeing what damage they had done to the weapon, packed up and left early! On camera they claimed to not have been damaged, but Razer gained a nick in one of its self righting wings (we straightened out a bend in it for them with the impact from the disc!) and they lost a drive belt to one of the rear wheels.

Our final fight of the day was against the American robot General Chompsalot, who had beaten Manta in the US second round. We swapped weapons again for our pushing scoop, and the fight was over pretty quickly - we pushed them about a bit and then down the pit! They were quite hard to push about (their large car tyre wheels made it easy for them to maintain contact with the ground) but we had won the final, and Tornado thus became the "TNN Extreme Warriors 2 International Champion"! We won a nice little trophy, which was presented to us by Mick Foley. Quite a sucessful day really! We packed up and left for home fairly late, arriving back after midnight.

28/1/02 - Unpacked the cars after the TNN Extreme 2 filming.

2/2/02 - Our medals from Technogames arrived! Thank you Mentorn.

10/2/02 - Started thinking about weapons ideas for Series 6.

15/2/02 - Finally sent out the finished version of the Event Safety Document to the group of us that are working on it. It's taken a while to do and we've put a lot of work into it! Headed down to the Brighton Model World show in the evening - see our event report.

16/2/02 - Second day of the Brighton Model World show.

17/2/02 - Last day at the Brighton Model World show. See our event report. After the event had finished, Ian Watts held a meeting to tell everyone what happened when a group of roboteers met with Mentorn - it seems it was a very positive meeting and progress was made on both sides. We also talked publicly about the Event Safety Document for the first time.

21/2/02 - Team meeting - discussed a possible merchanidising deal, and where we go from here. Made some good progress.

9/3/02 - Finally the sorted version of the Technogames contract has arrived - it's taken a long while for everyone to get a contract they are happy with!

12/3/02 - Put in lots of orders to various companies for Robot supplies. Repaired the damage from Brighton in the evening - replaced the armour and fitted a spare wheel for INSPIRE at the weekend.

14/3/02 - Got a letter from Mentorn - it is likely that Tornado will be made into a toy! We don't have any more details yet though.

16/3/02 - Took Tornado to INSPIRE, a hands on science centre in Norwich. See our event report.

17/3/02 - Stripped Tornado down, and repaired all the chassis damage, some from Brighton and some from the TNN Extreme 2 recording. Repainted and reassembled the chassis. Started work on some Titanium side plates to stop Dantomkia and other spiked robots from reaching our drivetrain in a side impact - grinding Ti produces some bright sparks! Repaired and welded up the pushing scoup, fixing the spike mounts damaged at Brighton, giving it a new front edge, and replacing the broken ball transfer unit.

18/3/02 - First day of Technogames 2002 on BBC2 - the third series. It was the first heats of the Assault Course and Penalty Kick, but Storm Chaser didn't appear today.

19/3/02 - Second day of Technogames 2002. In the first round of the Sumo, Ridgeback was beaten by Hellbound and Chip beat Mighty Mouse. The first heat of the football saw Terry the Turtle and Bugs Buggy beaten by Big Bro and British Bulldog with 7 goals to 2. Storm Chaser's first round of the football competition, in a team with Sprocket, was against Ravioli and Technomoth. During the match Ravioli suffered technical problems and wasn't able to compete fully, but Technomoth defended valiantly, and was helped by an own goal from Storm Chaser and Sprocket's drivetrain problems. Despite this our team won with a score of 7-2. Philippa (Forrester) said we had worked as a team, while Noel Sharkey suggested we were robot of the match! The show also included the second round of the Penalty Kick and Assault Course.

20/3/02 - Third day of Technogames. Storm Chaser faced British Bulldog in the first round of the Sumo - and Storm Chaser won. Our "number one fan" Chris Smythe appeared on TV as part of the team. In the other Sumo heat, Big Bro beat Sprocket.
We spent the evening rebuilding the intermediate gears now the most recent Farnell and RS orders have arrived, ready for our trip to our polycarbonate sponsor on Friday.

21/3/02 - Day Four of Technogames. Another heat of the first round of the football - Mighty Mouse and Wolf were beaten 7-1 by Snow Storm and Kats Whiskers while Savage Toaster and A.A.T. beat Celestial Terror and Smash 'N' Grab four nil. It was good to see Lex Wilkinson's Savage Toaster on TV finally! Another first TV appearance was made by Shred (Shredder) in the Assault Course. Storm Chaser appears in the Sumo Semi Finals - Big Bro beat Hellbound, and Storm Chaser beat Chip - but only just! Chip managed to get underneath Storm Chaser's scoop, but I managed to pull off of their cold chisel before they pushed us off the Dojo. Chris appeared again with the team...
We had a meeting with our sponsor Knight Batteries in the evening.

22/3/02 - Took Tornado to our polycarbonate sponsor - but unfortunately they were not able to help is as much as usual.
Fifth day of Technogames on BBC2, and the Sumo Finals. Chip beat Hellbound in the 3rd place playoff, while Big Bro beat Storm Chaser. Philippa wasn't biased towards Joe and Ellie... much! But we got Silver, so we can't complain. Plus Chris S was on TV again. In the Football semi finals Stormchaser and Sprocket beat Big Bro and British Bulldog with 4 goals to 1. The show also featured more of the first round of the Assault Course.

24/3/02 - We spent the day finishing the Titanium side plates ready for Debenham, and fitting them to the side armour.

25/3/02 - Technogames day 6. The second Football semi final saw Snow Storm and Kats Whiskers beat A.A.T. and Savage Toaster 5-3, so we were to be up against them in the final. But Noel and Martin say that our "little flappy things" are what's required to win! The first two heats of the Tug of War are also on today - British Bulldog beat Chip, and Big Bro beat Mighty Mouse.

26/3/02 - Day seven of Technogames, and the first two Assault Course Quarter Finals. In the second two first round heats of the Tug Of War, Storm Chaser beat Ridgeback and Sprocket beat Hellbound. Si Scott does a (very accurate) techy piece on Storm Chaser... We extracted the michael at the filming, but Si actually made a very good job of presenting the technical bits throughout the series. Our mate Chris appears with us again.

27/3/02 - Eighth day of Technogames, and the Tug Of War Semi finals. The technical slot by Si was shown again, and Storm Chaser beat British Bulldog, while Big Bro got beaten by Sprocket. The second pair of quarter finals for the assault course were shown today, as were the Football finals. In the third place play off British Bulldog and Big Bro lose to A.A.T. and Savage Toaster 3-2; Big Bro suffers a technical problem and has to retire before the end of the match.
The final was Storm Chaser and Sprocket against Snow Storm and Kats Whiskers. Before the match I made the comment "if they start getting rough, we'll start getting rough" - which needs some explaination! Back in the Football semi final, Snow Storm kept ramming A.A.T. head on throughout the match, which was obvious while we watched it being filmed back in December. Even the commentator said that they were being very aggressive and commented on an off the ball tackle as a "questionable piece of play". And that's only what was shown on TV! I'm not picking on Snow Storm, just justifying my comments - remember the matches were filmed about an hour apart!
As soon as the whistle blew, Snow Storm and Sprocket both went straight for the ball, and rammed each other head on. There was damage caused to Sprocket's lower jaw, but Snow Storm came off worst, damaging their gearbox, and so they were removed. Further on in the match Sprocket got a yellow card for blocking Kats Whiskers while away from the ball. But there was little Kat's Whiskers could do on their own, and we won the final and Gold medals. Again Noel Sharkey commended our "flappy things"!

28/3/02 - Penultimate day of Technogames on BBC2. This was the Tug of War final between Sprocket and Storm Chaser - and Storm Chaser won, despite bouncing all over the place - Another Gold medal!
Dave and I spent the evening preparing and packing for Debenham.

29/3/02 - Tenth and final day of Technogames. This show featured the Assault course final, with Bugs Buggy against Wolf. Bugs Buggy won Gold, Wolf got Silver and Big Bro got Bronze. We appear in the end of series highlights in a few places... I'll leave it to Noel Sharkey, with a bit of help from Philippa, for the last clip from the highlights: "Storm Chaser's scored more goals than anyone, and it's not down to power, it's down to the flappy things!"

30/3/02 - First day of the Robot Rumble at Debenham - but Tornado was not running, because Andrew was at his friend Neil's wedding. Paid a visit to the kart track while I was down in Kent. Both Dave and I headed up to Debenham in the evening.

31/3/02 - Second day of the Robot Rumble - take a look at our event report. We were part of the Stars competition, which we won overall by beating King Humphrey, Roobarb, Chaos 2 and M2 on the way.

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