• Venator Robotics

Carnage and Mayhem at the BBB Beetleweight Championships!

After over a year of waiting, Gladius finally entered the beetleweight arena for the first time at the BBB Beetleweight Championships!

I didn't manage to sign up in time for the main tournament, which was full in a matter of minutes. However, I did chuck Gladius into some whiteboards, and aided by a new coating of liquid rubber over the wheels for extra traction, the machine won its first real fight. The second whiteboard was also a ton of fun, until I got caught on a bit of debris and sent my robot into the pit! I really need to stop doing that!

Neither match compared to the utter carnage of the appropriately named Gladiator round, which has been estimated as the biggest combat robot fight ever with over 40 machines in the arena at the same time. It was absolute mayhem, and Gladius actually lasted a pretty long time amongst it all. The back end of the bot was completely wrecked though - as I thought the polycarb wasn't up to the job and shattered when it was struck by a spinner. There was so much going on in the arena though I can't actually tell which opposing bot did the damage!

Images above were captured from the Bristol Bot Builders video uploads of the event. You can check out all of Gladius' fights, as well as the other brilliant whiteboards here.

In terms of production and organisation, this was probably the best combat robotics event I have attended in years - a panel of all-star judges, a live stream with multiple camera angles and some fantastic commentary, as well as a superb venue with plenty of space and tiered seating for the audience. The Bristol Bot Builders absolutely knocked this one out of the park. Big congratulations and a massive thank you to all those who put this event together.

However the greatest achievement of the day for me personally, came towards end of the event. While the roboteers were packing away their equipment, the judges unexpectedly took to the stage and announced they had some awards for a select few robots in the competition. To my amazement, Si Harrison from Team King B, a legend in the UK combat robotics scene, awarded Gladius the quirky "Derring-Do" award, for its entertaining performance in the arena!

While one might say the award itself doesn't have much material value (it's a BBB drinks coaster with sharpie on the back) it's the gesture and meaning behind it that is valuable to me. I always hope to entertain in the arena, and the design of Gladius in particular threw competitiveness out of the window in an attempt to make a fast and fun looking bot. So I'm absolutely thrilled to receive an award like this - Thanks a bunch, Si!

With university exams on the horizon, and my international exchange next year, this is going to be my last event for quite some time. A brilliant event to finish the year on, which more than made up for the pretty barren 2020. The next beetle weight will certainly be Omikron, but with SCR commitments I'm not entirely sure when that build will actually happen. Hopefully I will be able to squeeze it in during the summer break next year.

Until then, take care!


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