|Backlash competed at the June 9-11 2000 BattleBots!|
How Backlash Did at BattleBots - San Francisco 2000
Backlash won the Lightweight Championship at BattleBots-San Francisco 2000!
Here is the full scoop on how Backlash did for each fight at San Francisco 2000 BattleBots:
Fight 1: vs. Disposable Hero
Backlash's first fight was against the defenseless & underweight robot called Disposable Hero, made by Phil Putman. Phil didn't have the time to finish this bot, but was sport enough to let him go into battle anyway.
This match started out with Backlash charging across the arena, disc spinning full speed, toward where Disposable Hero begin backing away from the advancing Backlash. After a couple of near-misses, the robots met face to face, WHAM! Backlash caught the front of Disposable Hero and sent him flying end over end across the arena floor, coming to rest battered, but not beaten. He moved forward once again, regardless of the fact that his battery had come loose and was barely still connected by the power wires.
Backlash advanced again, this time from behind Disposable Hero, the disc catching the exposed right side motor. SMACK! The motor went flying across the arena and into the opposite side wall!
Backlash quickly moved around the front of Disposable Hero, where the disc now ripped off the front forklifts, sending them flying as well (this one was great to watch on tape, as the audience members were all watching the flying piece, all their heads turn at the same time.. hee hee)
One more attack, around the back this time, and Backlash ripped out the battery and other electronics from Disposable Hero. Backlash backs up to see if Disposable Hero can move, and after seeing that he is dead, does his victory spin!
Total time: 50 seconds
Fight 2: vs. The Crusher
Backlash's next match was against The Crusher, a fast little wedge robot, piloted by 9-year old Gus Steyer.
I knew Crusher was a speedy and well-built bot, so he would be a tough opponent. I went into this one knowing the only way to get Crusher would be to hit him from the side or rear.
The fight started with Crusher zipping across the arena while Backlash advanced, disc spinning. Crusher missed Backlash at first and hit the arena wall. For several more seconds, Crusher zipped around Backlash, apparently trying to get behind him, but Backlash can always turn on a dime to face his attacker. After a couple more misses, and Crusher hitting the wall again, Backlash finally saw his chance and moved in towards the side of Crusher, hitting him squarely on the side and knocking Crusher upside-down. Hmm, I noticed that something was wrong though. That hit only barely knocked Crusher with enough force to tip over, when it should have been able to send him flying....
Crusher, upside-down, can still drive, his wheels stick out the top, so, although crippled, he was far from destroyed, but it must be difficult to drive upside-down, because seconds later, Crusher ran into the wall again, but this time, his inverted wedge rode him up onto the arena wall spikes, lifting his drive wheels off the ground.
I saw this as another chance to hit Crusher, and moved forward, but aimed completely wrong and hit the wall with Backlash's disc. CLANK! Oops. Later, I discovered that this impact had sheared the shaft that the disc spins on, but remarkably, the shaft stayed in place!
Stunned, Backlash moved aside to see if Crusher could free himself from the wall, but he couldn't, so I moved in to hit him, aiming a little better this time. This hit didn't do much damage to Crusher, but did free him from the wall, so he went back off, right into the arena saws, which gladly sent Crusher flying through the air, landing upside-down again.
A couple more hits from Backlash's disc, and Crusher once again rode up against the wall of the arena, almost exactly where he had before. This time, I knew I only had a little time left in the match, so I gave Crusher a few seconds to try to get away on his own, but he couldn't, so I came in from behind and hit the back edge of Crusher, bending up the angle metal on the back (But STILL not very strong, I was really worried what was going on now)
I attacked once again, this time, I was able to pivot Crusher up onto his rear with Backlash's disc, almost tipping him back on his wheels, but then dropping him back against the wall, where Crusher still couldn't move.
Backing away again, the buzzer sounded signalling the end of the match, obviously due to Crusher being counted out, so Backlash did his victory spin!
Total time: 1 minute 43 seconds
Fight 3: vs. Endotherm
Backlash's next fight was against a solidly built box-shaped robot with spikes on the front, called Endotherm, built and controlled by John Patrick.
I don't remember this match totally, and it wasn't aired on the BattleBots show, so I'm going to have to go from memory on this one...
I didn't do much modifications to Backlash to find out what the problem with the disc power before this match, I had only time to replace the broken shaft and put on a new weapon belt after charging up the batteries.
This match was a toughie. I knew instantly the first time that I hit Endotherm that something was still very wrong with Backlash's disc, as it was hardly doing any damage and would stop after an impact, something it almost never does. So, after a few hits and misses against Endotherm, I decided this would be a pushing match, since the disc was useless to me anyway, so I switched it off and proceeded to try to push Endotherm into the hazards.
This was a dangerous practice though, since getting another robot near the hazards means getting yourself close too. From what I recall, I managed to push Endotherm into the arena saws at least once, and vice versa, the saws caught Backlash's drive wheel and sent him flying up and around, but luckily I landed normally and kept going. Later, I checked out the saw damage, it had cut a big gash into the wheel, but since these wheels are solid rubber, it caused no problem to the drivability, whew!
After a little bit more pushing and shoving, both robots ended up in the corner by the arena hammer. Backlash saw his chance and for a few moments, pinned Endotherm underneath the hammer, I knew this was the only way I would get judge points, so I let the hammer work it's magic on Endotherm for a little while. (This was before they upgraded the arena pulverizers, so the damage it did was very minimal)
This match went on for the full 3 minutes, both robots still running at the end after pushing each other around the whole time, the judges awarded the match to Backlash on points gained. Wow, that was close.
Fight 4: vs. Das Bot
This took Backlash into the semi-finals. I was looking at the matchup, and I knew that I would be facing the winner of the Ziggo vs. Das Bot fight, and, boy was I worried. I knew almost for sure that Ziggo would win this match, so I began to prepare Backlash to be destroyed. Making it worse, this fight wouldn't be until the next day, so I had all night to sit up and toss and turn about this fight that I assumed would be against the deadly Ziggo.
Before this fight, I finally realized what was causing Backlash's weapon to be slowing down, the belt had been slipping big time, so I tightened it up, and added some belt dressing (the magic potion! Thanks to Mike Winter of the RAL team for loaning me some!).
Das Bot, built and driven by Paul Mathus, had added an ingenious anti-Ziggo attachment to his robot in effort to catch Ziggo and drag him into the saws. This attachment, however, didn't work, BUT, did end up causing Ziggo to charge full speed into Das Bot to get past the weapon, the resulting impact was so large that Ziggo sent himself flying into the arena wall, pinning his own shell underneath, it took a crowbar to free him! Das Bot survived the impact and was still moving, so was declared the winner! Woo Hoo! I didn't have to fight Ziggo after all! However, I still had to get past Das Bot to get to the championship round...
The round started and Backlash advanced on Das Bot, who had added a couple of blue foam pads, in effort to cushion the blows from Backlash's weapon. They didn't work very well, as Backlash ripped one of them off, and then the other. Backlash managed to get around the back of Das Bot, catching the squared end and upending him, nearly flipped over, but Das Bot's arm managed to keep him upright enough to fall back down on his wheels.
Das Bot came around for a frontal attack on Backlash, and Backlash's disc smashed Das Bot's flipper arm, breaking the steel tubing and leaving the arm pointed uselessly skyward.
One more hit on the side of Das Bot disabled him, he just stopped moving. Paul later told me that somehow his power switch had clicked off from the impact.
Backlash hit a couple more times, then I turned off the disc to push Das Bot into the arena saws for that last triumphant hit, the saws came up underneath and the arena floor was suddenly covered in sawdust from Das Bot's plywood underside.
Victory! On to the finals!
Fight 5: vs. Alpha Raptor
Backlash was in the finals! His first time at BattleBots, and here he is in the finals! Who would have expected that?! Certainly not me...
Well, my opponent in the finals was Chuck & Bob Pitzer's beautifully machined Alpha Raptor. Alpha Raptor had defeated Mouser Catbot to get into the finals berth, and looked to be a tough opponent that I wasn't sure if I could do anything to.
Right before the match, I was talking with Chuck, who was controlling Alpha Raptor, and he told me of how bad of shape his robot was in, that one side drive was nearly completely out and other problems had been escalating too, and that he didn't expect to do well against my Backlash. He explained to me that he wanted it "to look good" for T.V., and to have my way with his bot if it came to that point. I told him to do the same if the tables were turned, we both wanted it to be a great fight for T.V. We agreed to signal each other if enough was enough.
The fight started and it was plain to see that Alpha Raptor was having drive problems. He could barely make it around his side of the arena, but successfully evaded Backlash's attacks for several moments, even positioning himself on the other side of the killsaws, trying to get Backlash to follow, but got nicked by the saws in the process.
Backlash patiently drove around the saws to get at Alpha Raptor, and managed to make contact with the side, this impact sent Alpha Raptor into the side of the arena, by the spikes. Backlash came in for the kill, smashing into the back, plastic side of Alpha Raptor, sending pieces of white plastic PVC all over the arena.
I moved Backlash away to see if Alpha Raptor could move, I would have rather had him out in the open than up against the wall like that, but he didn't move. I looked over at Chuck to see if he would signal "Uncle" from me, but he didn't, so I moved Backlash in again.
This time, Backlash's disc smashed into the back of Alpha Raptor so hard that battery packs and PVC went flying everywhere. It was spectacular! Another back away to look for a signal, then in again...
Backlash came around to try to get Alpha Raptor away from the wall, and managed to hit him from the side hard enough to send him flying a short distance.
At this point, it was obvious that Alpha Raptor was out, and Chuck finally threw in the towel.
VICTORY for Backlash! Lightweight Championship victory!
Afterwards, I reviewed the damage to Alpha Raptor, it was terrible. Pieces everywhere, Chuck had to take his robot out of the arena in a trash bag. At least one of his $400+ motors was destroyed. I felt an odd mix of empathy and adrenaline from this match, for we both knew that this match, for sure, was gonna be on TV, and it was!
Backlash- Lightweight Champion!
Fight 6: Lightweight Rumble 1
There were so many lightweight robots that BattleBots chose to break up the lightweight rumble into two 5 minute matches, with the top bots from each moving on to a final, 3rd rumble. Backlash was in the 1st rumble. Only the first of these three was aired on the Comedy Central show.
Backlash moved out into the center to see who would want to fight in the middle. Das Bot moved in to take the challenge, but after a quick shove, Backlash took his interest elsewhere (wanted to fight someone he hadn't fought yet!), so Backlash headed off towards Team Loki's Thorn, a double-sided wedgebot with spike. After lining up a shot on Thorn, I saw that Shrike, a yellow robot with pick axe in the front, was moving up behind Backlash, so I quickly turned around and the disc sent Shrike's right side drive motor and wheel flying across the arena! Take that! That's what you get for trying to sneak up on Backlash.... (The announcers didn't catch that this had happened, rats)
Backlash, having disabled Shrike, moved back towards Thorn, seeming to say "Now, where was I?". Backlash hit Thorn a couple of times while he was spinning around in front, this knocked Thorn back a couple times and bent his armor up in the front, one more hit sent him upside down and the bent armor kept his drive wheels off the ground, disabling him too. Two down, off for some more.
Meanwhile, many of the other robots had already been disabled by each other, so there weren't many left to pick on. Backlash moved towards Shaft next, pushing around a bit, but not quite able to reach anything critical with his weapon.
However, Backlash was inturrupted again by Das Bot, who seemed to say "Hey, I wasn't done with you yet, get back here!", so I turned, um, tried to turn, into Das Bot, but somehow, my left drive wheel was barely spinning, I later found out that somehow it had jammed up against the frame and was rubbing against it, preventing it from spinning properly. Das Bot couldn't quite push Backlash, and Backlash couldn't quite reach Das Bot's frame to do any damage, but he did make a good racket with Das Bot's top lexan armor sheet, flapping it around like a baseball card in a kid's bicycle-wheel spokes. I couldn't back away due to the stuck wheel, so all I could do is let Das Bot try to push Backlash, and hit him where I could. Finally, Das Bot moved away, just in time for Backlash to turn and attack the incoming No Tolerance II, a robot with a swinging arm and a chain on the end with a (!) water faucet. Backlash hit No Tolerance's arm swinging it backward, once, then twice, as Das Bot tried to push Backlash from the side. A third hit on No Tolerance broke off his faucet attachment and sent it flying across the arena.
Finally, I managed to get free of that tangle, but couldn't get far from Das Bot, who kept taking advantage of the fact that Backlash could only move in one direction, except for the rare moment that the drive wheel would slip free of the frame and start spinning again. For the last minute or so, I realized that this was really a long match (the rumbles go for 5 minutes), and I knew my weapon had been on the whole time. I wasn't able to do much with it, and I knew I needed to save something for next time, so I flipped it off, trying to see if I could push anyone around for the remainder of the rumble. Of course, I quickly realized that there would be no pushing when you can only drive with one wheel, so I figured "what the heck", and turned the weapon back on. In the last seconds of the match, No Tolerance and Das Bot ganged up again on Backlash, but nobody really did anything to each other.
The buzzer rang, then the crowd cheered their top 5 robots to go on to the final lightweight rumble, Backlash was cheered the loudest after having done the most damage in the rumble.
Fight 7: Final Lightweight Rumble
The second lightweight rumble eliminated some more robots, narrowing down the possibilities even more. I don't know much about what happened during this match since I was preparing for the final rumble, but I heard that Ziggo had knocked himself into the wall again, much the same way as he did against Das Bot. Ugh.
The last 2 rumbles were not aired on the TV show, they only aired the first one, and mistakedly declared Backlash the victor. Oh well, shows you how much the truth is distorted on TV... Anyway, since I don't have a tape to review, I'll have to go this one from memory too.
The only damage I recall doing in this final rumble was against Missing Link, built and controlled by Jason Bardis. Backlash ripped off Missing LInk's drive wheel (Jason later gave the wheel to me as a 'trophy'). Cool.
Not too far into the rumble, Backlash's disc just up and stopped. No spinning, nothing. And, I noticed that the drive was cutting out too. Uh oh, bad electronics stuff. I later found out that it was my much-abused and underrated power switch that was burning itself up from all the previous matches. Somehow, I was able to achieve short bursts of control while the switch was burning out, so, on and off, I was able to remain mobile the whole time. Mouser Catbot, built by Fon Davis, had picked on Backlash and took advantage of his disabled state, and somehow had poked his pneumatic forks through the holes in Backlash's disc, keeping it from spinning up (not that I could spin it if I wanted to, since the switch was dying), but it did keep me from getting around much.
Not a lot of excitement this match for Backlash, but at the end, somehow, the crowd still cheered loudly for him, but not quite as loud as they did for Mouser, who ended up taking home the win for the Lightweight Rumble. Congrats, Fon!
(Note to self- never use low-amp rated power switches in your robot again)
In all, I had a BLAST at this event with Backlash! I made a few upgrades after this, and went on to fight in Las Vegas 2000!