Ok, so it’s a bit late. Not much chance lately to summarise our day out to Manchester!

For those who don’t know, Manchester XR (Extreme Robots) is traditionally the first live show of the heavyweight fighting robots calendar. It brings competitors from all over the UK to EventCity in Trafford, just off the M60. Rob and Chris made it up for the whole weekend of the 21st and 22nd April, Ali floated in and out of Saturday and Sunday. Would we have Big Dave fighting for the first time? Had Catch Me If You Can been fixed in time? Would any of the other featherweights in the ARC workshop make an appearance?

In short, sadly not in the arena! We had to sit and watch the other competitors fight it out in the first live show of the year.

However, Chris was a busy man – sorting out the electrics for the arena is no small task, as he has now become a frequent fixture on the tour from last year when he started helping with the backstage circuitry. Hats off to Chris – many of the roboteer teams feel that he has helped improve the running of the live events by making the electrics work that much more smoothly. Especially when you’re dealing with high Amp fuses! However the audience watching the fights won’t have noticed this contribution, which in entertainment terms is a sign of a good show.

What about the robots? We had a Big Dave 3 on display in the back for the VIPs (those members of the audience who paid extra to see the pits, behind-the-scenes ) and the other roboteers to show our progress, but unfortunately BD3 was missing a few parts which meant we couldn’t put ‘im in the arena. But, in a few short weeks, we will have all the bits ready to go. Watch out world, we will have the heaviest spinning combat drum in the UK spinning faster than a Formula 1 car (once they bring back Robot Wars, that is)! The younger VIPs definitely had fun watching the drum spin on its bearings! Who needs modern tech to entertain your kids these days?

Big Dave 3. Shiny. Not sure how a biscuit made it into the photo. McVities, if you’re watching, we’d love some sponsorship!! We’ll attach a biscuit cannon, distribute some delicious biscuit-based goods to the general public and generally just be excellent sponsors.

In terms of featherweights, you would have seen 2 of our creations over the weekend. One was a broken Catch Me If You Can, which is (over)due a rebuild. The other… Golftank! Perhaps the world’s first motorised combat golf caddy, built almost entirely out of scrap parts. We actually found it the day before our last workshop build in a fly-tip, and spent half a day upgrading the caddy into Golftank. considering all it needed was a new battery, it seems such a shame that it wasn’t sold on to someone with a battery, as now we have well and truly vandalised £350 worth of motorised golf caddy! With all the armour and one of 2 motors inserted, it weighed in at a healthy 11.5Kg, so 2.1Kg under the 13.6Kg limit. The wooden armour will probably be replaced with an aluminium shell to minimise the fire risk. While it isn’t very clear in the picture, you can probably just about make out its primary weapon – a shovel, which we were going to use in a separate robot called “El Shove”, but for now it will make up the blunt force trauma that Golftank will deliver. It’s so big that it dwarfs many of the heavyweight robots!

Golftank engages in some…promiscuous activity on CMIYC. What will we conjure up next?

So in summary, Manchester was not to be for us. We turned up without working robots, but our fellow competitors cooed at our creations. The VIPs loved what they saw, and rest assured they will be in the arena soon (the robots, not the VIPs!)…

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