I’m so happy this fight is available on youtube [https://youtu.be/td2Rup31pKw], it makes reviewing it so much easier. I’m also ecstatic that BattleBots has worked something out with Discovery to let them post current-season fights basically as they happen. Publishing good, current fights should be a nice boost to the show’s audience reach.
On to this fight! Whiplash is the second to last of the every-season teams we have battled. This fight could have happened last year if we'd somehow been able to have a third fight, so we've had a year to get amped for its inevitability. We’ve been growing closer to the Vasquez clan every year and we were happy to help them find their footing with a brushless conversion before re:MARS. Switching to brushless is about as rough as building a whole bot from scratch. Everything is different and more complicated. There’s an entire extra wire to plug in! Oh, the humanity! It gets easier about 100 hours in. Brushless motors make all new sounds and have some unique quirks to wrangle before they’ll cooperate. The fact that Matt is driving it as smoothly as he is with how little box time he’s had with this new setup speaks volumes about his talent as a driver.
The fight opened with an uneventful fork collision, followed by some drifting. Matt out-circled us in the next engagement, immediately flipping us over. If you watched our last fight, we’re in trouble now. Our weapon stopped spinning as we went over. From our perch in the driver’s box, we could tell it stopped suddenly, which indicates a jam. A jammed weapon can be shaken loose or it could be very, very bad. There are two common causes of a weapon jam like this: the chain is broken and bunched up somewhere, or the bearings have seized up. If it's the chain, we should be able to knock it loose. We should see the weapon wiggle or roll a bit if it's a jam, giving us just a little more detail. If the bearings are seized, they’ll be locked in place and won’t move at all. Either way, I’ve slammed the throttle back to zero so we don’t burst a motor. As the robot gets slammed into the driver’s wall, we can see one weapon chain is still attached.
HyperShock gets away after one more light exchange and clambers up onto the shelf. It creates some breathing room and resets the fight momentum. We’re still upside down when we leap off the shelf, but now we can get some speed. The next bump with Whiplash dislodges the stuck chain, so we immediately throttle the weapon to maximum speed. We need as much spinning energy as possible if we’re going to have a chance to flip back over. Alex had a good amount of success gyroing the robot around, so she’s been coaching Will on the process back in the test boxes. She’s doing the same in the fight, trying to figure it out with him. We eventually get back over with a lucky glancing shot on Whiplash. Then the fight takes off for us, landing a few series of hits. We end up ramming our forks under the wall by the door (why the heck isn’t that thing secured?) and get a little stuck. Our newest teammate, Julia (formerly on Duck!, Red Devil, Marvin, Ferocity, and Bucktooth Burl) pinned Whiplash with a pulverizer until the override kicked in. That pin gave us the time to wiggle out from under the wall and probably saved the fight.
Whiplash tries to engage as we shake free, but we pivot into them, hitting them back into the middle of the arena. Will rounds on them, and the next flurry dislodges the plate under their lifter that holds all the guts in. As they bridge out of a roll, batteries hanging loose like so much electronic viscera, we dart under them, slicing some batteries free. Lucky for them, the fire was outside the robot.
Off camera, Will intentionally flipped HyperShock over to try to practice self-righting. Unfortunately, he didn’t have enough runway and speared the forks into the wall as the KO count finished. It seems like curled over tip of one fork got jammed in good as the crewbots had to yank it free.
All in all, this was a great fight. About 90 seconds long with some good back and forth, drama, and a fire. It’s well-rounded. We struggled while upside down, but as soon as we tipped back over, we felt solidly in control of the pace. The weapon is working great, but the drive is still a little touchy. You should notice the robot wiggling as we’re driving. Some drivers do that to slide their forks under an opponent from the side or sweep their forks out of the way. That’s not how we attack. We’re meant to charge in at full speed to maximize weapon engagement. We’re not sure at this point in the event if it’s mismatched motors or if it’s something we can fix with VESC tuning.
We’re now sitting at 1-1. One loss by JD in a fight cut short and a destructive win by KO, both against bots that outranked us at the start of the season. As Sawblaze and Whiplash’s schedules unfold, we’ll see how each of these fights affects our current standing. Since Whiplash had also lost their first fight by KO to a lower-ranked bot, this will probably hurt their ranking more than it helps ours. Their next fight is Monsoon, who will fight the rookie Horizon before Whiplash. That’ll be a rough fight for Whiplash, even winning it, I’d expect another high-damage fight for them. They’re running lean in the pits with Jason back at school, so they’re gonna feel that.
We face End Game next. In filming time, it’s after the first dark day, so we have nearly two full days to prepare. In TV airing time, it’s five weeks from now. End Game is sitting at 1-0 with a JD win over blip. They’re fighting RIPperoni next, so that’s mostly a big unknown, but I’d favor the carefully-driven End Game in that one. The clever Kiwis will probably come out with a nine-foot-long pizza peel hanging off the front. The last time we fought End Game, the fight lasted a whole two hits. One to flip us over, the next to eject us from the arena. We’re hoping to avoid a repeat of any of that. We’re planning to make them sweat by rolling around with two differently configured HyperShocks under blankets. They love their configs, so if we can fake them out long enough, maybe we can make them pick poorly.
Please enjoy this damage album: