KOB2 Diary – Part 3

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Day 10

  • Awake at 9am, missed breakfast again.
  • Arrive at venue and told that I am allowed on tv beside Connie. The next stage may involve running and they are afraid to let Connie run. Pregnant ladies are not allowed to do a lot of things in China. Lucky I had the red shirt.
  • Next stage involved all the contestants in the losers lining up and waiting. Each team captain was given a remote button to press. There was a count down and being first to push a button allowed you to chose another robot to fight. The remaining teams then ask to challenge the robot that managed to push the button first by running onto one of 6 platforms on the stage. The first team would chose from these 6 teams who they wanted to fight. The production crew thought we would all think slowly and then walk to the platforms. But we all knew who we wanted to fight and everyone wanted to run to be the first to the stage. The back row of competitors had no chance to making it to the podiums and it was an unfair situation. After the first two selections they decided that it looked too bad for tv with all the pushing and shoving.
  • So they re-ran the setup, but this time just made us stick up our hands to ask to fight. Technically I didn’t need to help Connie as putting up your hand was safe for a pregnant lady, but they already filmed me for the introductions, so I was in. Or they forgot I was there.
  • We already found 6 easy robots and 6 difficult robots. We decided to not press the button and wait to see who the selected robot was. If it was easy, we would challenge, if it was hard, we would wait for the rumble. In hindsight this was a bad idea, but we had no idea how this format was going to work. Unfortunately all the easy robots got selected first. The walker, Barbie, Frog all got selected in the first 4 groups. BBQ, Hippo and several other strong robots were still in the selection group. Didn’t look good for the rumbles.
  • While the first 4 fights were happening we decided to press the button and found the robots we would select. Better to not wait for the rumble.
  • In the second round we tried to press the button but weren’t fast enough. However Snake and BBQ got selected and so were the robots I wanted to fight, Doctor, Silver Scorpion and ICEwave. We stuck our hands up, but no one wanted to fight us. We were going into the rumbles with the middle range robots.
  • They gave us the rumble list while we were watching the fights. We drew the girly vertical spinner, pink beater and a wedge lifter from the college team who were next to us in the pits. The two spinners did not seem reliable.
  • Connie spoke with the college team and the vertical spinner and found that they wanted to all attack the beater first. First the spinner would hit the beater and then the wedge would hold them while I came in with the axe. Sounded perfect as I could wait for the first 15 – 30 seconds and let the spinners kill themselves. But best not to make plans.
  • We were told that our fight would be the next morning and to go and get some sleep.
  • Couldn’t sleep.

Day 11

  • Depart for venue at 9:30. Not enough sleep.
  • Contemplate testing the robot. Not sure when the fight starts so decide I might not have time after the test to charge the batteries.
  • Called to line up for the fight at 10:15. I was the first to be ready, as usual. I was told that I could control the weapon while Connie drove the robot.
  • Our fight was up second. The first fight is delayed due to workers fixing the lighting inside the arena, and then delayed due to robots not powering up. I wish the other teams would do more testing.
  • Checking out other robots in the line up behind the stage. The vertical spinner was having weapon trouble and the wedge was still unknown. Decided the beater was dangerous and needed to be attacked. Couldn’t trust the other drivers.
  • Finally in the arena at 11:30. There is no audience, commentators, walk in introductions or interviews for our rumble. Feeling like it won’t even go to air.
  • Fight delayed as some directors still weren’t told that I could be near the arena or help control the robot. The communication skills of these people are terrible. The TV production directors wanted me to stand with Connie and help control the robot, and the KOB production directors wanted me away from the arena. I didn’t know what to do to make them happy. Eventually a TV director pushed me in the back toward the arena and yelled to start the fight.
  • Fight finally starts 10 days after the robot was first charged and ready. And after watching 58 out of 60 robots get their turn in the arena. A couple of the robots even had 3 fights before we had our chance.
  • Robot dead after 15 second. Only swung the axe twice. I moved cautously as I wasn’t sure how the other robots would behave. I could see the beater was really moving fast and seemed more dangerous than I remembered. I tried to have a swing at it. Clipped the beater on the first swing and got flipped. Self-righted fine. Went in for a second attack but the axe swung slowly. The base mounts on weapon motors had bent during all the testing. The extra stress during the fight caused the motor to bend forward and jammed the sprockets together and derail the chain. The axe stopped in mid-swing. The slow swing allowed the beater into the side of the robot, which hit the chassis just in front of the wheel. This is the only spot on the robot without 10mm plate. The chassis supports bent, which caused the first stage gear alignment to get ruined. I then lost a tyre when the robot came down from the hit and then got pushed into the arena drum spinner. Luckily after all these hits the robot landed the correct way up. With the axe jammed forward and the loss of the right wheel there was no weight on the left wheel and the robot was immobile. The beater robot got stuck in the arena saws a few second later and the vertical got flipped by the arena. The wedge won.
  • Went back to pits to pull apart robot and prepare for another fight, only to be told that there were no rumbles or exhibitions for the robots eliminated at this stage. 30 robots go home this day followed by a 3 day break.
  • Sad, angry and disappointed all at the same time.
  • Watched the celebrities chose their teams. Didn’t see the celebrities view our fights. I feel they never saw my robot.
  • Watched the American gold fish driver get really angry and destroy his radio with a hammer. But he got 2 fights, 1 win and a loss, which was more than we had.
  • Contemplate packing the robot, but too drained.
  • Started organising earlier plane tickets home.
  • Gave a set of the used drive batteries to the nice Chinese guy who owned Silver Scorpion. He seemed rather shocked that I would be that nice.
  • Lots of Chinese guys came for photos with me or Alice. We seemed popular and everyone says they wished they saw me fight.
  • Asked to reassemble the robot for a group photo. Impossible to replace the tyre in the 30 seconds I was given.
  • But still had to wait 30 minutes for the photo to be taken, so could have got the tyre on.
  • Couldn’t smile for the photo, held Alice in front of me instead.
  • Told we were needed for a meeting. As usual the directors hang around us, but seem to refuse to look at us and then walk away. No meeting.
  • Went back to the hotel and then out to dinner.
  • Couldn’t sleep. Worse than the previous night.

The damage

Day 12

  • Woke at 3am to check the contract. We miss out on all the promised prize money.
  • Woke again at 8am, bus leaves at 12:30pm to take people for interviews. Connie won’t be interviewed. Decided to go pack the robot and tools and finish with the whole competition.
  • Arrive at venue. Most people are just the builders who are eliminated and packing equipment.
  • Only takes 30 minutes to put everything in the crate. Catch taxi back to the hotel.
  • Start drawing a new robot and go to dinner. Started drawing a double spinner since the celebrities only liked robots with spinners.
  • Find out it will cost $450 each to go home early. Cheaper to stay in China.

Day 13

  • Rest day. Feeling better.
  • Go the aquarium with Connie, Alice and Leslie. Alice goes insane over seeing fish.
  • Head to shopping centre next to Aquarium. Alice has a 2 year-old melt down. Turns out Leslie is allergic to mango. Decide to go back to the hotel. Taxi driver got lost.
  • Find out Catherine got fired because we weren’t in the competition anymore. I feel really guilty.
  • Connie tries to find a way to visit her family in Hong Kong for a week. Discover Alice would need her birth certificate for a travel pass. Idea abandoned.

Day 14

  • Be lazy in the morning.
  • Go into the city during the afternoon with Leslie and Catherine.
  • Visit the M&M and Lego shop. Alice goes insane again.
  • Nice dinner in a fancy hotel, but still cheap. As a thank you and apology to Catherine.
  • Visit the Bund at 8pm. Way too many people. Feels like the population of the Gold Coast in one place.
  • Go back to the hotel. Decide to go back to the competition tomorrow.

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