Robot Wars Live!, Sheffied Arena 2001

SMIDSY appeared in Robot Wars Live at Sheffield arena on the 28th and 29th of July 2001. We took this as an opportunity to give some different people a chance to experience competing in RobotWars, Alan Coubrough and John List stood in for Andy and Mik. This was originally posted by Alan under the title 'Crikey that was fun' (and has been edited slightly for the website).

Saturday afternoon:

On arrival at the Arena I left the others unloading whilst I booked us in. As I walked into the pit (the entire rear half of Sheffield Arena!) I was greeted with a cry of 'Smiiiidsy!' from each of the crew as they recognised the T-shirt (which was nice). I signed in, found out that we're in the final bout with two other bots:

Derek the robot

Derek, a scary pyramid shaped CNC machined thing with a CO2 powered flipper at the front and a Bosch powered spinning disk at the back. The white box is a set of strobe lights.

The BlackKnight

Black Knight, a dad and 2 kids BalsaBot that had been built in an amazing 8 days. It had a petrol powered grinding blade at the front, a cardboard shield and a mean stare.

We weigh in at 99 Kg, but that was only after we came in at an intermittent 96 cus they had a bad connection…

Everyone's friendly, the guy with Black Knight (another Steve Parker from Doncaster!) says he doesn't mind being trashed, we agree a plan with Derek for us to hold the knight's head in SMIDSY's Jaws whilst they cut it up :) The bout starts, (it all goes a bit fuzzy now) and basically Black Knight gets walloped by us both, Shunt joins in, we have a scrap with Derek, and clout it with the disk. It jars Derek so badly that its safety link falls out :) Black Knight is finished off by Shunt who then starts scrapping with us. A few seconds before the bout ends, Shunt puts its pick through our top armour and into the nice new Cyclon battery :(

Bout ends and it dawns on me that we've won!

The BlackKnight's dented armour, with its owner The Derek Team, showing off the traitorous self-removing removable link

As we are packing up, we are asked by the real Derek if we can be a reserve for the following day! We accept.

Game over for the day, we load up and go home. Andy takes us to a very nice pub and then to a very nice curry house in the early hours. We get home, drink coffee and then decide to rebuild the battery packs and do some fettling to prepare SMIDSY for later that day.


We get to the arena for about 9:45 and sign in as per the previous day.

Bout 1:

The first bout is against Brute Force and Ignorance. A large wedge with a flipper, decorated to look like an elephant.

As soon as we arrived in the booth the transmitter 'low battery' warning sounded, giving us about a minute before it died. We switched it off until the bout started and were in such a hurry to get it over SMIDSY went on the 3 of 3,2,1… Time goes so slowly when you're in the booth. We stopped half way across the arena and waited for the 'activate'…

We rammed them, pushed them around, hit them with the disk etc. They stopped working at some point having never managed to use their flipper.

The transmitter switched off entirely but there was so much interference that the bot would occasionally drive across the ring, or spin around, so it looked as if we were moving. Craig came and stood next to us for a better view and to ask what was going on…

By leaving the transmitter off for 30 seconds we could get 10 seconds of control before it switched off again, which gave us just enough control to avoid Shunt (and park over the flame pit, which failed to set fire to the vinyl).

But we won!

We broke the disk on Shunt's chassis (sheared all 8, 8mm bolts) =:-o We'd made the disks look more aggressive by aligning them 90 degrees out of phase. The bottom line was that the first disk must have stopped dead when it hit the rather solid Shunt (I'd had the power on for a full 40 seconds…) and the second disk just carried on through the bolts! We replaced the bolts okay and it was fine in the next bout.

Bout 2:

A 4 way melee against Immortalis, Trident and Viking, a non-starter from the morning.

We attack Trident with the disk and I think it died there and then (well, it was dead when it landed, so we pushed it into the pit :) Immortalis was quietly wrecking itself against any immovable object cus they couldn't steer :( and Viking started tussling with us. This was the point where we lost drive again (low batts). We got shoved into a corner and managed to keep Shunt and Viking at bay with the disk, we got pickaxed again but the damage wasn't so bad.

If we'd have gone for Viking first I think we might have won as the other two were BalsaBots but then, who can say :)

Memorable stuff:

Top entertainment.

Oh, and Derek took me to one side and said 'as far as I'm concerned, you're in.' I leave Mik to decode this comment but it sounded pretty good to me :)

Thanks all


John, Alan, Robin and SMIDSY, just before our first bout.