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Sherburn-In-Elmet, 21st - 23rd Aug 2019

FRA Feathereight Championships 2019

Hello, and welcome to my event log of the FRA Featherweight Championships 2019, which was hosted by Robodojo and held in Sherburn-in-Elmet from 21/09/19 to 23/09/19! 

Prologue

I participated with my then brand new machine, Venator V3, which I had just finished the night prior to my trip down south. I'll start off right where my build diary finished: the robot's drive had just been tested but the chassis was still in bits and I wasn't packed at all. 

As a result, the following morning was a frantic dash to not only fully assemble Venator, but to also pack my tiny car as tightly as possible, with as many tools, controllers and spare parts as I could. It was so tight, in fact, that Venator V3 had to sit in the passenger seat next to me. After a very sweaty, a/c deprived 7 hour trip south, I arrived at the arena, in an industrial estate outside the small village of Sherburn-in-Elmet. 

I chose a pit table and set up camp; my base of operations for the next 3 days. I shared this space with Crabsolutely Clawful, Impact, FryCook, TRAC, Pushability-Tilly and their respective builders. With technical and safety checks passed, I wandered around the pits to check out the other metal munching monsters, especially the 5 machines in my heat. I'd have to fight each one individually, being awarded points for a win, judges decision or loss, with the top 2 robots from each heat going through to the Top 16 bracket. 

My first match was against hammer-bot, Galaga. It was my only opponent that I was completely unfamiliar with, and one major concern immediately stuck out to me upon first seeing the robot. Galaga's front scoop was this really hefty chunk of hardox, and the 2 drive wheels are situated at the very rear of the machine. As a result most of the robot's weight would be resting on this scoop, and it would be very difficult to get underneath. The trade-off, however, is less speed than a 4-wheel drive system like Venator's, so I'd have to utilise my manoeuvrability to get around to the sides of Galaga.

Loading into the arena, Venator V3 thankfully powered up nicely, and felt nice to control - remember this is the first time I'd ever driven the machine! My opponent was also ready and looking deadly, testing out its menacing hammer by crashing it onto the arena floor. With everyone in position it was time for Venator V3's first battle to begin!

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So right on "ACTIVATE", I full the throttle to head straight at my opponent. Testing the front wedge of Galaga was a priority, as I needed to determine if I would be able to get underneath. Unfortunately Venator V3 had other ideas, ignored my inputs and decided to turn into the rear wall, which allowed Galaga to take a shot right off the bat. This was an issue throughout this entire fight - the drive kept consistently cutting out on one side.

A few exchanges and rams from Venator, and my drive started malfunctioning in the arena corner. Galaga took full advantage, and really laid the smack down on my thin top lid, impressively scoring 8 big shots with its hammer. Luckily there was no significant damage taken, and I managed to squirm Venator out of danger so the fight could continue. At this point in the match I realised I was never going to get underneath Galaga's beefy front scoop, but as I suspected, the position of the drive wheels made the very robot slow to turn. I took this opportunity to attack from the side, sending Galaga into the wall and activating the pit at the same time. 

I managed to edge Galaga closer and closer towards the open pit - my ticket for an early KO, which would be a strong start to the competition. However, Galaga wormed itself away with some nice defensive driving, and as the fight wore on, I got increasingly concerned about losing a judges' decision, especially after the incident in the corner. I had to make something big happen, and fast. I tried to be as aggressive and quick as possible, and finally I thought I had Galaga lined up perfectly with the pit. One big push now could send Galaga down and out! Unfortunately I completely misjudged this final attack, missed Galaga completely, and actually drove Venator right into the pit! I could say that my drive issues caused my mistake here, but I'll be honest - it was just a horrid piece of robot control! D'OH!

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