MechWars 5

Oct 12-13, 2002
St. Paul, MN, USA

Dan Juanillo, my twin sister Ricky's husband and I left Thursday afternoon from Louisville, CO and drove straight out through the night, getting to the Holiday Inn hotel in ST. Paul, MN at 11:AM on Friday. We rested up and went over to the Aldrich Skate Arena, on White Bear Ave where they were setting up for the fifth MechWars Tournament. The staff was generous in allowing us to unload right away so our stuff wouldn't have to stay in the back of the truck overnight. It rained that night and Saturday morning so I am glad we unloaded when we did. I could tell this was a much better facility than the armory was and it was a great place to hold robotic combat. As usual there were never enough power outlets for every team.

We took Heavy weight Kumite (pronounced Koo-mitt-tay), which which won Mechwars 4 earlier in the year. At the last minute, I decided to enter Full Frontal Fulcrum, the Botbash 2002 120 pound MERC Champion, into the middleweight class. We didn't know if it would do very well on the steel diamond plate floors that are the nemisis of most wedges, but at least we had something else to play with. The Battle cage had an improved horizontal spinning blade about 3 inches off the floor that would send lightweights flying. The other hazard was a giant flaming pire that would emerge from the center of the box when you were over it. The floor was steel diamond plate, which Kumite's weapon always has interference with anytime it would turn on. Kumite is becoming well known for making lots of racket at Mechwars. The noise adds to the excitement of the fights, though, and gets the audience awake.

Video of Kumite fighting against Tornando (1.34MB)

Video of Maximus on fire (1.34MB)

The tournament was double elimination, where you have to lose twice to be eliminated from the tournament. Both bots won four straight fights which put us in the HW and MW championship matches. Full Frontal Fulcrum performed much better than I expected. It had a tendancy to 'wheely' over the gaps in the floor that would stop other sharp wedges amd we were able to win the match against Sumner (Andy and Peirre's bot, from Illinois - great guys!). It was an exciting match.

The HW final was against Insect Repellent, which Kumite had fought against in the MW4 championship final. Unfortunately, before entering the championship round, my previous opponent, Tornado (see the video), took out two of my drive motor gear boxes and because of some bolts that fell out, Kumite's weapon bearings were just barely hanging on. With some furious activity in the pits, we were able to fix one motor but one side was only being driven by one motor instead of two. This made it impossible to go head-to-head with Insect Repellent, and although it fought its heart out, Kumite got tangled up in the battle cage's spinner, which bent the leaf spring wheel guards, and the wheel next to it. That basically made Kumite immobile, and to top it off, two victor speed controllers fried, and made some dirty smoke. I thought I had 2nd place rapped up and wouldn't have to fight again, but it turned out that there were three other HW's that had only lost once, so to determine the standings for 2nd through 5th place, four of us were to meet in a melee to allow the judges to decide the order. Kumite was a mess and everyone thought we were out of the competition! We had two drive motors (right front and left rear - the others had blown gear boxes) still operational and all the wheels were bent.

We cut off part of the wheel guards to free the right side and we snipped off the power wires to the fried Speed controllers and redirected the cables to the two good drive motors left running. Kumite tested good, even though the receiver was blackened and charred from the burning wires. We were able to get back into the arena in time for the 2nd place melee, even though we had not re-charged the batteries. Again, because we didn't have all the drive power we were used to, we couldn't get the upper hand in a shoving match, but the weapon was still churning away. We were fortunate to get enough points to pull out a third overall (2nd out of the four that were fighting) so the efforts of the team was rewarded.

I'd like to thank Ashley York for joining our team for this event. It was wonderful having a strong, well-mannered young man helping to lift these heavy bots. Dan is 59 and I am 55 so we REALLY appreciated having Ashley around. I'd also like to thank Chris Mickelson, who is becoming a veteran in his own right, for chipping in and helping us get Kumite back running again, and of course my brother-in-law Dan Juanillo, who was a competent and encouraging companion during the whole trip. Without you guys, winning the trophies would not have been possible. I'd like to thank all the other teams that provided assistance, tools and duct tape, when we needed it.

We especially would like to thank the promoter, Jon, who took the risk to put on the event, and all the volunteers and staff that worked hard to make this event happen, and to all the local Twin City robot enthusiasts who came out to watch both days. We are here for you, folks!

MechWars 5

Final results/standings

Copyright © 2012 Mike Konshak. All Rights Reserved.

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