TORNADO - The Team with the Comedy Flying Cow

Dave and I were able to leave early from work (many thanks to our managers at NXT for allowing us to do so!) in order to get to the school on time. After doing battle with Louth one way system (having initially not trusted Multimap's placing of the school), we found Kidgate school eventually. We found Ed from Storm in the car park, having got there a few minutes before us. Kidgate school were having a preview day in the run up to the War In The Wolds event this weekend - their "Mega Day" included visits from local football players, UK gymnasts, a racing team with driver and car - and us lot! We set Tornado and Storm up in part of the playground, with the mini-house robots for the kids to play with, while Ed drove Force X about. Group by group the whole school was paraded past...

When eventually we had exhausted the interest of all the kids, we packed away the robots and headed to the sports centre to see what was happening. Now trusting Multimap completely, I ignored the large blue building on the left hand side of the road with "Sports Centre" written on it in big letters, and proceeded to direct us up some poor unsuspecting soul's front driveway. It would have been fine if we had been alone, but of course Ed was following close behind...

The Roaming Robots arena was coming along pretty well, so we unloaded the robots from our cars. Time was getting on though, so we decided to find food, and went into town to a little pub. We had been given an invite to the climax of the school's "Mega Day" - an Irish Ceilidgh held at the town hall - and it turned out that the pub was just round the corner from the town hall. So we called in - the doorstaff were expecting us, so things looked good. But when we got upstairs, it turned out not to be what we were expecting - Abba was playing, and we had walked into a school disco! Not that there was anything wrong with that... just we were tired, and it wasn't what we were expecting! We didn't stay long at all, and returned to the Sports Centre.

The arena was really taking shape now, and we helped put out some of the audience chairs, but we were tired and wanted to find our beds. The Hells Teeth team had organised B&Bs over in their home town of Mablethorpe, towards the coast, and we followed their directions to our particular B&B. We spent what was left of the evening relaxing in the B&B bar.


First day of the Roaming Robots War in the Wolds event at Louth in Linconshire. When we arrived at the Sports Centre in the morning, the pits were still being prepared, and we helped set up the benches. The Roaming Robots team had built a seperate arena to run the pay-to-drive machines, and this proved to help the event run smoothly throughout the weekend. The event was divided into four sessions - the first three open to the public, and the final one reserved for Kidgate School.

Present were Terrorhurtz, M2, Gman, Lambsy...

...feathers Katnip, Micro Mute, Force 4, Flybot...

...Gladiator, Rampage, Katnip (and Alistair from Kan Opener), Kan Opener itself...

...Tornado, Storm 2, Thor, and DTK (Steve's featherweight Dantomkia). Also present (no photos!) were Hells Teeth (Team S-Tec), Lazerus, Pussycat, Stinger, Dantomkia, King Humphrey, Roobarb, Bulldog Breed 3, Micro Mouse, Mute, Dominator 2, Aargh, Black and Blue, Cutlet, Velocirippa, Razer, Thunderbolt 3, Chaos 2, and the Roaming Robots house machines.
We were first put in with Stinger and M2 - but our transmitter crystal clashed with M2, and we sat the fight out.

That made our first fight of the morning against Thunderbolt 3 (a whole body spinner - but with the spinner disabled!) and Thor. We pushed Thunderbolt around and then down the pit, while Thor got a couple of good hits in on us with their huge hammer, breaking the polycarbonate above the receiver side motor, and link/receiver. We were still given the fight however.
We fought again in the morning, against Storm II and King Humphrey.

Humphrey soon gave Tornado a puncture, and managed to wedge its axe into a gap between our armour panels. Not wanting to get peppered by their axe like happened before at Worthing, we tried to put them in the pit, but there was no need in the end, because Mick drove Humphrey in unassisted!
We then got into a shoving match with Storm II - they had less traction on the uneven floor surface and we were able to push them about, despite the large amount of tyre smoke they were making! We were awarded the fight. Storm 2 needed a bit of attention to its wedge afterwards...
Razer did a demo on an old microwave - after the first demo Dave got hold of it, and robbed the transformer, diodes and capacitor as spares for his Tesla Coil...
At the start of the afternoon session, we were unexpectedly awarded a trophy for our performance in the morning session!

Our first fight of the afternoon session was against Dantomkia. They "racked and stacked" Tornado on its side against the arena wall, righted us again, and then Mike drove down the pit!
There were two power outages in the afternoon. When the lights went out, lots of torches appeared - from the roboteers of course! We ended up using our Hawkers and John Reids light bulbs (from his nicad discharger) to provide lighting for the crowd. The local electrician was called, and it turned out that there was an earth fault on the outside lights, which was blowing the main fuse...

Once the lights were back on, we went in again with King Humphrey and Kan Opener. Humphrey went down the pit fairly quickly, which left us in a hard tussle with Kan Opener. The bright light in the top left picture is a spark from Kan Openers titanium! What little of the crowd still remained gave us the fight.
Stinger, Roobarb, Pussycat and Humphrey had a four way melee towards the end of the day.

We returned to Mablethorpe in the evening, to our B&B. The Hells Teeth guys had arranged food and cheap drinks at a local bar, and chauffeured everyone in a (borrowed) Bentley to the bar! We went along for a while, but it was hot and noisy, and so a group of us decided to head back to the quieter bar in the B&B, where we could sit down and chat.

The second day of War in the Wolds event.

Our first fight (and only one of the morning) was against Bulldog Breed and Pussycat - Bulldog Breed put us down the pit, and then followed us in shortly after - a very chuffed Stu driving Pussycat won the fight.

Kan Opener caused a bit of an incident during the break between sessions, in which Ed from Storm unknowingly performed an impression of Holly (Red Dwarf): "Fire. FIRE. There's a fire going on. Fire"! Kan Openers nicads had caught fire whilst charging, and there was a big rush to get Kan Opener outside and take the lid off to sort out the problem.

Once the lid was off, it was obvious that it was too late - the nicads were toasted. What went wrong? Well, their packs had been simply stuck together with cyano, so the cells were physically a lot closer together than they should have been. And they were charging them all in parallel, from a bench power supply - two things that you should not do! It is likely that one cell shorted/overheated/failed, probably through overcharging, and then the power supply and other packs in parallel dumped power into the weakened pack. This overheated the cells, causing the heatshink to fail, and more cells to touch one another and short... A bit of a chain reaction! It's one of the dangers of using nicads - you have to be careful, meticulous and do everything properly - no cutting corners. Kan Opener itself was undamaged however, and was able to continue fighting, but using its original Hawkers! Kan Opener didn't have to feel alone though - Micro Mute had a similar smoking nicad problem during one of the feather fights...
The afternoon session was reserved for the Kidgate school, and after our visit there on Friday afternoon, we gained some supporters! Shame our first fight of the afternoon didn't go better...

The fight was against Mighty Mouse and Thor - Thors hammer went down the side of our wheel, knocking off a chain, and taking us out of contention. But shortly after Thor had a technical failure (it broke down), so Mighty Mouse won!

We also went in against Bulldog Breed, Mute and Mighty Mouse again. Bulldog nearly drove in the pit, and after getting stuck on the side and being released by us, stacked us on top of the upside down Mute! We were on our wheels again by the time cease was called, but Bulldog Breed was the clear victor.

Dave and I left at the end of the event, followed by George Francis, who couldn't be bothered navigating back, and who wanted to talk electronics with Dave. We stopped off for food at Boston, but found nowhere worth eating at - so eventually we all ended up at the Pizza Hut in Peterborough. It was quite a surreal experience, George's presence and us being in our team tops completely changed the way we were treated by the staff - as George put it "I want to speak to you, but I can't think of anything clever to ask, so I'll ask something stupid instead"...

Have a look at the War In The Wolds site.

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