2018 BattleBots Championship
The 2018 BattleBots Championship was closely watched by our entire team here at TeamWorx. We are obviously huge fans of the most exciting sport in America that doesn’t have a Conor McGregor; only if robots could talk trash. The drivers of the robots could talk trash – theoretically – but prefer in practice a more subdued mutual interaction. In general, they let the robots do the talking, and … they don’t talk.
This year’s tournament was awesome! For longtime robot fighting fans it was shocking to see Tombstone go out in the first round to Bombshell, who was subsequently “bomb-shelled” by Lock-Jaw. We are partial to Tombstone as Ray Billings resides in Placerville and worked at Folsom Prison for many years not far from where we are located.
He and Tombstone almost always win with a career win percentage of 88% and a staggering KO% of 75%! Ray KO’d this year’s runner-up Minotaur in pre-tournament action – and entered the tournament ranked #1 after KO’s against Gigabyte, Whiplash (final four finisher), and DUCK!
He and Tombstone created perhaps the most iconic BattleBots moment on championship night by using his intensely powerful horizontal bar spinner to dislodge a fist from the opposing robot and lodge it literally IN THE Battle Box!
The 2018 BattleBots Championship Final Four consisted of Lock Jaw versus Minotaur and Whiplash versus Bite Force. Donald Hutson battled the Brazilian sensation which boasts an impressive 82% career win percentage. As it turned out Marco Antonio Meggiolaro’s team were able to attack the wheels of Lock Jaw with their 70lb drum spinner and held a huge advantage early in the fight. Donald Hutson was essentially out driven by a lower more powerful bot with a better strategy.
In the 2018 BattleBots Championship second semi-final, Whiplash, who defeated perennial long time contenders Yeti and 2nd ranked Bronco on the way, matched up against a similar bot in 2015 champion Bite Force who entered the match 6-0 in 2018.
The Vasquez family led by father Jeff has built robots for decades, and Whiplash was driven by Jeff’s son Matt and his team includes Debbie and Jason as well. They boast a unique design combining a vertical spinner with an articulated lifter. They can flip like Bronco and grind like Bite Force.
Bite Force is a unique combination of offense, defense, and torque; with a walloping punch courtesy of a vertical bar spinner. Driver and builder from Mountain View CA Paul Ventimiglia uses four scooping bars, a flat, square, low design, and incredible torque from protected wheels to bully many opponents before delivering what appears to be the strongest blow of any competitor with the exception of maybe Tombstone.
This semi-final between two amazing robots, durable and powerful, came down to one vertical bar spinner delivering more force than then the combo lifter and vertical spinner on Whiplash. In addition, Bite Force was able to go after the wheels of Whiplash whereas Bite Force has protected wheels.
The final was a great battle between a 70 lb Drum spinner in Minotaur with a career 93% winning percentage versus the 45 lb vertical spinner of Bite Force. On paper and looking at the bots I couldn’t see a road to victory for Bite Force. The key difference that ended up giving a victory to Bite Force was timing; Bite Force was able to keep Minotaur off balance enough to keep the ridiculously powerful drum spinner from getting to full speed, meanwhile able to take significant and damaging shots with its own weapon which accelerated to speed much faster.
When Minotaur’s drum spinner did reach full speed – indicated by the recognizable hum – and went head to head with Bite Force it succeeded one time to throw Bite Force into the air, but the second time when weapon met weapon surprisingly Bite Force got the better end of the exchange. The final KO was indicative of clever driving and ultimately, from what I saw, a better robot.
In the end Bite Force seemed the best robot in the competition from start to finish, and Paul added better driving than his opponents with great pre-match strategy to win the NUT!Robot Team Building