- "This is a flipper but because it's called Apollo we're calling it a launcher."
- — Team MAD describe Apollo's weapon
Apollo was a heavyweight robot which competed in Series 8, 9 and 10 of Robot Wars. It reached the final of Series 8 after defeating Storm 2 in its heat, and went on to become the UK Champion by defeating Carbide in the Grand Final. This made Apollo the first UK Champion since Panic Attack to win the series in which it debuted. Apollo also entered Series 9 and reached the Heat Final, before being eliminated in a rematch with Carbide. It qualified for the Grand Final regardless through a wildcard, but fell in its group battle against Aftershock and Eruption. In Series 10, a dominant run from Apollo ceased in the Heat Final when Behemoth flipped it into the pit, and although Apollo was the last robot to be defeated in the 10 Robot Rumble, it could not win its second wildcard. Apollo would also captain the UK teams in the first episode of Robot Wars: World Series, leading them to victory.
Apollo was known for its powerful flipper, being one of the first to flip robots out of the new arena, doing so to four robots in total, and also being the only robot to flip the new versions of Shunt, Matilda and Dead Metal over, having overturned Dead Metal in particular twice.
Apollo was built by Team MAD, consisting of Dave Young, Alan Young, Marc Dermott, and originally Ben Bacon. However, Alan Young could not be a member of Apollo's team until Series 10, due to his prior involvement with the production of the programme. Team MAD had previous experience on Robot Wars with various featherweight and antweight robots.
Apollo was a white, black and chequered wedge-shaped robot with a powerful flipper, running at 1000psi. The robot's name and aesthetics are derived from NASA's Apollo space program and the spacecraft used for these missions. This also inspired the name of the robot's weapon - Team MAD refer to their flipper as a 'launcher', referring to the idea of a space launch while also remaining consistent with the US name of flippers. The robot's structural design was modelled after Chronic, a BattleBots entry built by Alan Young, although the two robots are completely separate builds.
Apollo's flipper was capable of throwing a 100kg heavyweight six feet into the air, and would cause the robot to somersault when self-righting. For this reason, the flipper also has a half-power option, for ease of use as a self-righting mechanism. Apollo's ground clearance is the thickness of a pound coin (around 3mm).
In Series 9, Apollo gained a new 100mm bore ram for the flipper, producing five tonnes of force, as well as new speed controllers from VEX Robotics. However, the robot was otherwise relatively unchanged, even bearing some of its battle scars from the previous series.
Apollo's changes were more substantial in Series 10, where a new version entered the arena to replace the original version following damage sustained in Series 9. The latest version of Apollo overhauled its visual design with a revised colour scheme, LED lights and side panels with mock thrusters, while its flipper was upgraded with increased flow and interchangeable arms. The robot now featured a top speed of 20mph, an increase from the previous 12mph, while its pushing power was upgraded from 2hp to a theoretical 22hp through using two 48v Ampflow motors. Apollo's colour scheme was further altered for the Robot Wars: World Series specials, with the Union Jack spray-painted on its sides and the chequered pattern on its flipper absent.
Apollo's competition debut was in Heat 4 of Series 8, in 2016. In its Group Battle, Apollo fought past Annihilator champion Kan-Opener, undercutting horizontal spinner PP3D, and the 45kg middleweight, Sweeney Todd. The 'boyband of Robot Wars' entered the arena with a dramatic pose.
- Dara Ó Briain: "How far can it launch something?"
- Marc Dermott: "It can launch a 50kg robot, at least 6-7 feet, but it's not always about the size, it's fast as well!"
- — Marc Dermott alludes to their middleweight opponent
Apollo slowly closed in on PP3D in the opening stages, but drove directly over the floor flipper, and was thrown over. It self-righted in order to throw Kan-Opener towards the plexiglass screen, but this gave the undercutter spinner of PP3D a chance to directly target the exposed left wheel at the back of Apollo, and sliced it away, restricting Apollo's movements in the very early stages of the battle.
- "Look at this, nuts and bolts and smithereens, and an Apollo wheel has come off too! Now that will really affect their manoeuvrability!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Struggling to gain traction on the arena floor, Apollo flipped itself over, and was pressured by Kan-Opener and Sweeney Todd while self-righting. Meandering around the arena, Apollo eventually made its way to the locked pair of Kan-Opener and PP3D, launching them both in the same flip. When PP3D was thrown by the floor flipper, Apollo crashed straight into the mechanism. After this, Apollo was able to slip underneath Kan-Opener, which was distracted by PP3D, and launch it across the arena. The impact of Apollo's flip knocked the removable link out of Kan-Opener, immobilising it. Apollo was pressured by PP3D and the arena spikes, but Sweeney Todd had clearly lost mobility at this stage, and was left near the arena wall. Apollo intended to flip it out of the arena, but could not drive underneath with only one functional wheel, and could only flip Sweeney Todd onto the wall, also turning itself over. Apollo also managed to throw PP3D into the arena wall while it attacked Sweeney Todd, but the countdown clock finally begun for Sweeney Todd, and Apollo thrusted it through the air, and drove onto PP3D before 'cease' was finally called. This allowed Apollo to qualify for the Head-to-Heads round.
- Dara Ó Briain: "There was a large period of that fight where you could only turn left."
- Marc Dermott: "Well, literally, the wheels came off!"
- — Team MAD on their opening scare
Apollo would once again face PP3D in its first head-to-head, although Team MAD had difficulty repairing their robot, as PP3D had bent the entire axle which housed Apollo's broken wheel, making the locomotion difficult to re-attach.
- "If we're not able to make these repairs, we won't be able to go into the next fight, because we'll only have one wheel driving!"
- — Dave Young
The entire robot had to be emptied for the repair to take place, but Apollo was ready for its next battle. Dave Young devised a new tactic to deal with the dangerous spinner.
- "Hopefully we don't take another knock in the same place, so this time we're going full-on, head-on, straight into the robot, instead of attacking another robot and letting spinners hit us from behind."
- — Dave Young
Apollo charged directly into PP3D, bringing it up from the floor, and then ensured its wedge faced the horizontal spinner to minimise its spinning speed, and the damage sustained. Apollo gradually backed PP3D into a corner, and when PP3D drove up Apollo's wedge, Team MAD fired their flipper, removing a whole wheel from PP3D through sheer force. Apollo sent PP3D recoiling into the air on their next contact. Although Team MAD were aware that PP3D was unable to drive, Apollo still closed in on the rear of PP3D to throw it across the arena one last time, removing the safety link of PP3D to officially immobilise it.
- "What a turn up, here! Apollo seemed to be in all sorts of trouble, but they've finished PP3D off with great style, control, and driving skills! That's brilliant manoeuvrability from a position of peril, but they knew what they needed to do!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Having defeated PP3D by knockout, Apollo had secured itself three points, putting it at the top of the league table, just ahead of runner-up Storm 2. As a result, both robots faced off in their next battle, with the winner securing a place in the Heat Final. Team MAD revealed that one of the valve switches had come loose within Apollo in the last battle, limiting its flipping power, therefore promising bigger flips against Storm 2.
- Dave Young: "In theory, the flipper was only firing at half power in the last fight, as well as being cold, so it's probably running around a quarter of its main power"
- Marc Dermott: "Which is good because basically if we flip anybody, it'll be the best we've ever seen, but I don't know if we can get under Storm 2, that's gonna be the challenge!"
- — Pros and cons from Team MAD
Apollo was slow when 'activate' was called, attempting to test its wedge against the front of Storm 2, but quickly discovered hat Storm 2 had the superior ground clearance, and Apollo was pushed back. However, Apollo found an opportunity by driving under the side of Storm 2, and barrelled it over, following this up by pushing the self-righting Storm 2 onto the floor flipper for a flip by the hazard. Apollo continued to chase Storm 2, preventing it from self-righting for a while, and once Storm 2 was righted, Apollo immediately flipped it again, having stuck the robot on top of the closed pit. However, Apollo faced difficulties after being rammed by the wedge of Storm 2, as a drive chain came loose inside Apollo. Team MAD simply changed their target, and drove into the CPZ to flip the 343kg House Robot Dead Metal over.
- "Apollo drives into the CPZ - ah, ha ha! How dare you!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Dead Metal is flipped
Apollo still could not drive with full control due to its loose chain, but still managed to flip a hesitant Storm 2, and engaged in a stalemate with it until Storm 2 pushed Apollo back into the CPZ. There, Apollo fired its flipper, ripping away part of Matilda's shell. It succeeded this attack by driving under Matilda to flip her over, the second time in one battle that Apollo overturned a brand-new House Robot. This glory was not without sacrifice, as Apollo's weapon had jammed open, and Storm 2 almost managed to push Apollo into the pit. Apollo could only turn in circles now, and eventually closed its flipper, but was driven directly up to the face of the pit, only narrowly surviving with seconds left on the clock.
- "Houston, we have a problem with Apollo!"
- — Pearce, spotting Apollo's drive problems
At the end of three minutes, the close and intense battle was sent to a Judges' decision. A unanimous Judges' decision awarded two points to Apollo, securing its place in the Heat Final.
- "This was a unanimous decision. Apollo won quite clearly. It did all the flipping, it was the most aggressive robot in there, and there wasn't a lot of damage, but its control was superb. I thought one of the most incredible thing with that bout was the way Apollo turned on the House Robots - didn't need to, it wasn't going to give it any extra points - but flipping two 'bots like that, never seen anything like that before! Fantastic!"
- — Professor Noel Sharkey
Although Apollo had already qualified for the Heat Final, it was still required to face Eruption, which in turn had already been eliminated due to two consecutive losses. In the battle between flippers, Apollo drove straight under Eruption, but could not fire its weapon in time, and threw itself over, quickly self-righting. Both robots attempted to point their wedges at each other, but the smaller Eruption gained the advantage and tossed Apollo, which was clearly struggling for mobility as it was thrown over.
- "And Apollo, dancing around. The famous Bluecoats, dancers and prancers and... a tumble in the rumble of Robot Wars!"
- — Jonathan Pearce watches on as Eruption and Apollo flip each other
Apollo self-righted, and a glancing flip allowed it to spin Eruption on the face of its wedge, also turning itself over before quickly self-righting. However, Apollo seemed to lose all freedom of movement, as it was blasted across the perimeter of the arena. After self-righting, Apollo's flipper became stuck open, and the robot was counted out while Eruption attempted to throw it out of the arena without success. 'Cease' was called as Apollo was thrown into Dead Metal, although the robot ironically started working again, and drove across the arena, but it was too late for Apollo to reclaim victory.
- Angela Scanlon: "Apollo, were you holding back?"
- Dave Young: "Not really, once again we had an issue with the drive. The flipper was working fine, but for some reason, about a minute into the fight, the drive just stopped on the robot."
- Angela Scanlon: "I mean, it seems like we see two different versions of Apollo, one who's an absolute master, and then one who's really quite vulnerable when it's not working!"
- Dave Young: "There's some reliability issues in the drive that we do need to sort out before the next fight, really!"
- — The inconsistency of Apollo is discussed
Although Apollo had lost a battle for the first time, it still had five points to its name, equal to the point total of Storm 2, setting up a Heat Final between the two robots, in which Storm 2 vowed to gain vengeance for itself and the House Robots.
- "If their earlier head-to-head is anything to go by, this should be some battle!"
- — Dara Ó Briain
Apollo still could not breach the ground clearance of Storm 2, and was backed into Shunt by Storm 2 in the opening stages. Unfazed, Apollo retaliated by turning Shunt over and onto its side, claiming a third House Robot victim.
- "Maybe Shunt can gain revenge, no! Again, a House Robot has been flipped! For the third time in the night, Apollo flips a House Robot, over goes Shunt!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Storm 2, focused on the battle, opened the pit and pushed Apollo back, then edging it towards the Arena Tyre and the flipped Shunt, until Apollo finally flipped Storm 2 for the first time in the battle. With Storm 2 trying to find an opportunity to self-right, Apollo exploded Storm 2 through the air, causing it to twist in circles and land with a crash. Apollo trapped Storm 2 near Matilda, but a missed flip left Apollo's flipper slightly ajar. Once the flipper closed, Apollo caught Storm 2 near the arena wall, and flipped it onto the barrier. With the golden opportunity lined up, Apollo slotted its flipper under Storm 2, and tossed it out of the arena, to the celebrations of Team MAD.
- "Storm 2, over and out, Houston control! What a robot, what a heat, Apollo deserved winners, through to the Grand Final!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Apollo had successfully qualified for the Grand Final. In its Group Battle there, Apollo faced Carbide and Shockwave. Team Carbide addressed Apollo as the bigger threat of the two robots. Hoping that Carbide would attack Shockwave, Team MAD set their sights on Sir Killalot instead.
- "Start of the competition, we said we had money on them to win it!"
- — Dave Moulds on Apollo
Apollo's role in the battle was extremely passive, as before Apollo could even make contact with Carbide or Shockwave, Carbide had destroyed part of the arena wall, causing the battle to be halted for safety reasons. Apollo launched Carbide into the air when it drove onto Apollo's wedge, but 'cease' was called after 32 seconds of action, and Shockwave withdrew from the competition due to the damage they sustained from Carbide during the battle, putting Apollo through to the next round of the Grand Final, for another selection of head-to-heads.
- Angela Scanlon: "That's not the way you wanted to get through to the head-to-heads!"
- Dave Young: "No, it would've been nice to have won the fight by flipping somebody out or flipping a House Robot in the meantime, but it's a win!"
- — Team MAD on their passive victory
In its first head-to-head of the Grand Final, Apollo faced fellow flipper TR2, which was undefeated at this stage. TR2 had welded a new wedge onto its flipper for the battle, having received damage against Pulsar, while Apollo planned to win a battle of driving skill.
- Ben Bacon: "It's really gonna come down to driver vs driver, I think on this one."
- Marc Dermott: "I have faith in you, mate!"
- Dave Young: "Good! I'm glad YOU do!"
- — Mixed confidence across the board
Apollo was cautious on its first drive, doubting its ability to drive directly under TR2, but punished a weak push from TR2 by spinning in place to get underneath and toss TR2 upwards. The same sequence played out twice, with Apollo earning another flip. On the next drive, it became clear that Apollo had the superior wedge as it drove straight under TR2 and threw it straight onto the arena side wall, with TR2 narrowly surviving.
- "Very nearly flipping TR2 out of orbit!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
TR2 needed to self-right, so Apollo threw it up into the air, and onto the saw of Dead Metal. In a brief mistake, Apollo exposed itself near the arena wall and was flipped forwards by TR2, but stayed within the arena. With Dead Metal in Apollo's way, the competitor drove straight under the House Robot and lifted it up again, not quite overturning Dead Metal as TR2 used this chance to flip Apollo over. Although Apollo's flipper was slightly bent, it still drove well in order to flip TR2 twice in succession, the latter running low on CO2. The action moved near the Arena Tyre, where both robots missed flips on each other until TR2 finally turned Apollo over, and Apollo weakly flipped TR2 back. After another period of mistimed attacks, Apollo drove under TR2 to throw it straight into the Arena Tyre, and over. TR2 was stranded on its back end when self-righting, so Apollo celebrated a knockout victory in the centre of the arena, earning three points for the table format. Team MAD could not celebrate for long, as their next battle would be against bar spinner Carbide.
- Dara Ó Briain: "The next people fighting Carbide will be these guys!"
- Dave Young: "Argh... Actually, I think we might give that one to [Team Toon]!"
- — Team MAD dread their menacing opponent
Knowing that Apollo's front end was heavily armoured, Dave Young planned to charge Carbide head-on, only fearing for the reliability of Apollo's internals. In accordance with that plan, Apollo drove straight into Carbide and flipped it over using only ramming power. but in its follow-up attack, it drove straight into the bar spinner of Carbide, and Apollo's removable link came loose, immobilising the whole robot just four seconds into the battle. To ensure victory, Carbide crashed into the side of Apollo ripping the armour near its wheels, and Apollo's countdown started. In preparation for the future, Carbide elected to further damage the beaten Apollo, attacking its rear end to the dismay of Team MAD. 'Cease' was called, and Team MAD accused Team Carbide of unfairly damaging an immobile robot.
- "Cheap shot!"
- — Dave Young to Team Carbide
Apollo's last battle of the round was against Thor, in a contest that had to be won by Apollo in order for it to qualify for the Grand Final. A cartoon plaster covered up some of the damage caused by Carbide. Part of the battle was won without Apollo's input, for after Apollo's initial drive into the front of Thor, the axebot fled from Apollo and drove over the floor flipper, turning it over. Apollo tumbled the inverted Thor, and launched it across the arena. While self-righting, vital components fell out of Thor, and Apollo placed it on the floor flipper for another flip. Thor was immobile as a result of the earlier attack, and laid inverted while Apollo held off, securing the vital three points needed to outplace TR2 and qualify for the Grand Final, a rematch with Carbide.
- "It's more than just the Grand Final, this is our revenge match-up now!"
- — Ben Bacon
Apollo drove into Carbide, surviving the initial impact, and pushed it into Sir Killalot. Apollo threw Carbide into the plexiglass, but suffered several damaging in retaliation, losing a piece of armour entirely before driving under the spinning weapon to throw Carbide forwards. Apollo threw the deadly spinner back into the plexiglass screen, and then flipped Carbide towards the arena wall twice, with the team pre-emptively celebrating a knockout victory. Apollo flipped Carbide into Shunt, stopping the bar spinner from turning, and flipped Carbide again. Apollo chased Carbide around the arena, missing with one flip, before tossing Carbide towards Sir Killalot. However, with this attack, Apollo's own weapon stopped working, jamming open. With the flipper stuck open, Apollo drove into Shunt to have its weapon smashed back into place.
- "Even though we had thrown him over earlier, we decided to drive into the Corner Patrol Zone purposely and take a hit from the powerful axe of Shunt. Success! The hits from Shunt knocked the flipper back down and we were back in action."
- — Dave Young
Apollo managed to flip Carbide again, but its flipper remained open again. Apollo fled, and the two robots drove against one another for an extended period of time, incapable of causing damage, with Apollo only lightly lifting its opponent. Apollo trapped Carbide underneath its flipper while driving it into the axe of Shunt, holding it there until 'cease' was called, and the Grand Final was to be decided by the Judges.
- "Before we knew it, cease was called. We thought we might have edged the result and we jumped up and down in the box — more relief than anything else. Waiting for the Judges' decision, I stood there and looked at a very sorry-looking Apollo. Maybe we had taken more damage than we had initially thought, and maybe this would change things."
- — Dave Young
The unanimous Judges' decision was awarded in favour of Apollo, making it the first Robot Wars champion in twelve years, and the team were presented with their trophy.
- "Dara handed us the trophy and we couldn’t have been happier! Out of 40 robots, a team of three Bluecoats that no one took seriously in the pits at first had won Robot Wars."
- — Dave Young
- "The reigning champions can now fire with five tonnes of force. They've got one last House Robot left to flip, and they also have a title to defend!"
- — Dara Ó Briain
Apollo competed in Heat 5, where the reigning champion fought a trio of newcomers - Coyote, Ms Nightshade and Rusty. Before even reaching the second round, Team MAD were already mocking Carbide, which was also in the same heat. Much like Robo Savage's team, Team MAD performed 'the dab' in their hero shot.
- "We've got a few scars from 'can't abide' - err sorry, Carbide, I get that mixed up."
- — Marc Dermott
When the battle started, Apollo quickly chose Rusty as its target, and threw it forwards, dislodging the fellow flipper's scoop. The second flip from Apollo caused major damage, removing the back panel from Rusty. Apollo next threw Ms Nightshade into the air, causing the floral robot to 'bloom', while Marc Dermott celebrated, as Ms Nightshade had already lost mobility.
- "Look at the celebrations already for Apollo, and why not? They're in underneath the ground clearance of Rusty, the big flip, the most powerful flipper in the UK, they say!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Eager to attack every robot in the group battle, Apollo pursued Coyote, and lifted it, not managing to properly breach its ground clearance, but breaking its chainsaw tail. Rusty had beached itself on its back, so Apollo pressed the Arena Tyre, triggering Rogue House Robot. While Dead Metal roamed free, Apollo threw Coyote over, and then tossed the immmobile Rusty towards the arena wall. Already victorious, Apollo still dominated, flipping Coyote and the revived Rusty once again. 'Cease' was called, confirming Apollo's qualification alongside Coyote.
- Dara Ó Briain: "That was a fairly awesome display, you happy with the form you're in?"
- Dave Young: "Yep, it's great to actually finish a fight with both wheels working, we didn't have that much luck last year with that, so it's good to be back."
- Dara Ó Briain: "Tempted to have a little kind of leisure time go at the House Robot, were you?"
- Dave Young: "No, we've already had Dead Metal anyway, so..."
- Marc Dermott: "Been there, done that!"
- — Post-battle interview
Team MAD revealed after the battle that Apollo was running at only half-power due to the cold weather, which prompted Marc Dermott to mock his teammate for wearing less layers of clothing. The elation and jokes did not last, as Apollo's next battle was a rematch of its Grand Final from the previous championship, fighting the highly improved Carbide. Dave Young was nervous about the match, while Marc Dermott displayed more confidence. Notably, Sir Killalot would be in the arena for this fight, and Marc Dermott performed 'the robot' dance move before the match began.
- Marc Dermott: "I'm feeling confident, and Dave isn't, so that's quite a good average, I think!"
- Dave Young: "It is, I'm not unconfident, I'm just a bit nervous about it really because we know what Carbide's capable of. We've just gotta literally drive straight into him right at the start of the fight, try and stop the spinning disc from getting up to full speed, and just do that for the whole fight."
- — Team MAD talk tactics
Apollo stayed true to its tactics and charged Carbide, but only gained a slight purchase. Apollo tried to flip Carbide, but it only lifted Carbide up slightly and Apollo threw itself all the way over. It self-righted quite quickly, but even this small window gave Carbide the opportunity to land blows on the side of Apollo. The defending champion slid under Carbide, but did not flip it, and a panel was torn from its launcher, leaving the bungee cords exposed. After nudging the Arena Tyre, successive blows from Carbide severed the exposed bungee cords and immobilised Apollo. Team Carbide showed no mercy, and continued to attack its vulnerable rival.
- "Come on, leave us alone, stop it! He's going for the wheels..."
- — Dave Young
Apollo's wheels were in peril as Carbide drew near, until the countdown timer completed. Just before the end of the timer, Apollo surged back into life and drove away, although this was not controlled movement that Team MAD had commanded, and the robot had already been immobile for ten seconds, so Carbide was awarded the victory. Regardless, the moving Apollo was hit again by Carbide, which threw the flipper open and threw Apollo onto its back. Sir Killalot picked up the beaten Apollo by its flipper, and held it over the flame pit.
- Marc Dermott: "We messed up our flip, got ourselves caught upside down, they came in with a really big hit, stopped our drive. I think it is a 50/50 between us, they got the better end of it."
- Dave Young: "And then Dave [Moulds] again goes for his little tactics while we're dead and tries to take our wheels! Same as he did last year!"
- Marc Dermott: "Sly, sly."
- — Team MAD criticise Carbide's attacks
Apollo was significantly damaged, and had a large repair job to complete within the two-hour window. The launcher was bent sideways, and would not close back into the wedge. This was only just fixed in time for Apollo's second head-to-head, this time against Coyote.
- Marc Dermott: "The flipper won't actually fall back into place, and even the top part of the flipper has a bend on it as well, so with it being kinked, it won't fit flush into Apollo. ...So basically, it's stuffed, at the moment! Dave's on the job - Dave, you OK mate?"
- Dave Young: "Yeah, getting there!"
- Marc Dermott: "I don't believe him"
- — Marc Dermott's confidence in his teammate
Apollo drove straight towards Coyote, and easily threw it into the air, directly towards Sir Killalot. Coyote had edged its way to the arena wall, so Apollo tried to throw it out, only failing because Coyote's jaws caught on the wall, although this broke Coyote's weapon. Apollo threw Coyote over, and pinned it near Sir Killalot, before attempting to flip Sir Killalot itself, although it lacked the necessary purchase to get underneath and flip.
- "Killalot does not like us!"
- — Marc Dermott
Apollo flipped Coyote onto its side, which would have immobilised Coyote, but regardless Apollo followed up and threw it out of the arena. 'Cease' was called, but Apollo had unfinished business, and challenged Sir Killalot. However, its buckled flipper could not allow Apollo to fire a decent flip, and the humbled Apollo fled from the pursuing Sir Killalot and Dead Metal.
- Angela Scanlon: "This was the old Apollo! And I mean, Apollo looks a bit damaged, there's gaffer-tape holding it together..."
- Marc Dermott: "The arm on the flipper, because it is a bit off, I think that is affecting it flipping higher"
- Angela Scanlon: "And do you think that you can get that sorted before the next battle? ...No, he face says no, his face is like 'absolutely not, we're as good as we're gonna be'!"
- — The damaged Apollo still emerges victorious
After using their two-hour repair window to try and straighten Apollo's flipper, Team MAD's final head-to-head match was against the clusterbot Crackers 'n' Smash. Team Conker feared Apollo, but felt they had a chance, having analysed the damage the reigning champion had sustained.
- Marc Dermott: "It's one of those where they may feel that they're the underdogs, but we've gone through a lot of work on our robot. There are two of them, they're quite low to the ground, they can probably get under us as well so we're not that confident, to be honest with you!"
- Angela Scanlon: "As reigning champions, is there added pressure?"
- Dave Young: "Yes, massively. And we're a big target for everybody. Everybody wants to have a go at Apollo."
- — A relatively reserved Team MAD before their last second round match
Team MAD's fears about the low ground clearance of Crackers 'n' Smash proved accurate, as Apollo drove straight onto the wedge of Crackers. It freed itself by firing its flipper, but could not breach the ground clearance of Smash either. Apollo struggled to make any notable move for an extended period of time until it finally launched Crackers into the saw of Dead Metal, also turning it over. Smash had been flipped off-screen, so Apollo lunged it through the air, so both halves of the clusterbot were inverted when Apollo activated Rogue House Robot. While Dead Metal sawed into Smash, Apollo and Sir Killalot pensively chased one another. Time was depleting, so Apollo threw the still-inverted Crackers straight into the plexiglass wall, and 'cease' was called. The Judges unanimously voted in favour of Apollo, awarding it the two points it needed to qualify for the Heat Final.
- "The bluecoats are making a song and dance out of making it into the Heat Final again"
- — Jonathan Pearce
There, it faced Carbide for the fifth time. Apollo's previous tactics still stood, as it ran straight into the spinning bar, but suffered repeated glancing blows until a panel was torn from its top. A strong lunge from Apollo was able to off-set the balance of Carbide, but once the spinner recovered, Apollo sustained more damage. Apollo was turned away by a strong hit from Carbide, and the following hits from the bar were strong enough to consistently push Apollo's wedge away. As time progressed, a strong blow to the side of Apollo limited its ability, and Carbide's finishing blow was an extended grinding attack onto the launcher.
- "Argh, we didn't get any flips then at all!"
- — Marc Dermott
Apollo was counted out, having lost the battle, although this did not stop the House Robots from exacting their revenge. Sir Killalot picked up Apollo by its flipper and dropped it when Apollo fired its weapon, then Sir Killalot pushed it over to break the launcher out of alignment. Apollo was burnt over the fire, allowing the bungee cords to spill out slightly and was gripped by Sir Killalot. Apollo had once again lost to its rival Carbide, although it remained in contention for the wildcard position in the Grand Final, provided the robot could be repaired.
- Dara Ó Briain: "It feels like only yesterday that we were in this very same spot presenting you with a trophy for winning the first series, you're not getting past this episode! What happened out there?"
- Marc Dermott: "I mean we've got to the end of this episode so... and fighting Carbide again in a final is just epic and we just didn't get the flipper working"
- Dara Ó Briain: "I mean you took the blows, and you were underneath him a few times and we were waiting for the button to be pressed... and nothing happened."
- Dave Young: "I dunno, the flipper just didn't want to know. We tested it as we put it into the arena, worked absolutely fine, and it just got a bit of stage-fright once it went out into the arena"
- — Team MAD admit defeat to Carbide
Before the start of the Grand Final, Team MAD were called to the arena to join Team Legion, Team Cherub, Jason Marston and Team Ranglebots to see who the Judges had awarded the wildcard to. The Judges decided that the reigning champion deserved to be reinstated for a second chance at victory, and Apollo qualified for the Grand Final, where it would face Aftershock and Eruption.
- Angela Scanlon: "Are we able to go again?"
- Marc Dermott: "Well yeah, I mean we might look like a paper robot at the moment because there's been a lot of welding, and it could just explode again!"
- Angela Scanlon: "Can you make it two in a row?"
- Marc Dermott: "Yes we can!"
- — New confidence from the defending champion
Apollo cruised around the arena in the opening seconds, avoiding its opponents until it came face-to-face with Aftershock. It managed to slip under the wedge of the vertical spinner and throw it over, and onto Eruption, also throwing itself over. However, this flip also damaged the arena floor upon Aftershock's landing, and after Apollo tackled Aftershock again, it drove under the damaged arena floor, where it became stuck. Unable to defend itself, Aftershock tore into the exposed rear of Apollo and threw it up, before 'cease' was called to make repairs to the floor.
- "That's not fair, I'm stuck in the floor!"
- — Dave Young on Aftershock's sneak attack
The teams agreed to restart the battle from a neutral position, without fixing any of the damage their robots sustained. Apollo could drive freely, but it did so without purpose, and Aftershock slammed into Apollo side-on, throwing it into the Arena Tyre and twisting its chassis. As the pit descended, gas vented from Apollo, and it became clear that the reigning champion had been immobilised by a spinner once again. Left alone, Apollo was counted out, and it was finally eliminated from the series, opening the gates for a new Robot Wars champion.
- Dara Ó Briain: "Will we see [Apollo] again, I wonder?"
- Dave Young: "Not in that exact formation, it will get changed. The spinners that are coming in are absolutely incredible, so we need to make sure we can take those impacts."
- — Team MAD bow out of Robot Wars
Apollo rammed into The Swarm, but the robots were each so light that they were simply brushed aside before Apollo could slide its wedge beneath any individual part. Apollo did ultimately get a flip on Pinza, throwing the clusterbot into Killalot's CPZ. Ramming into Apocalypse and Rubber Duck, Apollo tossed Apocalypse once unsuccessfully, almost overturning Apollo, but the second attempt hurled Apocalypse across the arena. Scooping Apocalypse again, Apollo threw the axebot into Sir Killalot, who dumped it onto the flame pit. Apollo continued to engage the three mobile members of The Swarm, and was finally able to bring its flipper fully underneath Rubber Duck. The flipper fired and Rubber Duck soared clean over the full sized arena wall.
- "A giant against the minnows - oh ho ho! It flew, it literally flew!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
With Apocalypse and two parts of The Swarm immobile, the fight was not yet won. Apocalypse chased down the two remaining clusterbots, trapping Blenda against the arena wall. After Skye activated the Pit, Apollo left Blenda and began to chase Skye, but Sam Watts drove straight into the Pit of Oblivion and eliminated the third clusterbot, sealing victory for Apollo. After 'cease' was called, it proceeded to throw Pinza across the arena.
Also after 'cease', in a sequence not broadcast on television, Apollo noticed that Sir Killalot was holding the beaten Apocalypse, and used this chance to try and flip the House Robot, almost succeeding, and used its 22hp drive to push the House Robot back. However, Team MAD were faced with potential disqualification, as 'cease' had already been called, and the producers declared that Sir Killalot was not holding Apocalypse as a form of attack, rather it was simply to bring Apocalypse nearer to the entrance gates for removal. Regardless, Apollo remained in the competition to battle Sabretooth in the next round.
- "Apollo's looking really really strong, and obviously, he has been a previous champion. He's going to be a hard one to crack."
- — Gabriel Stroud
The rested Apollo got the first flip onto Sabretooth, somersaulting the smaller drumbot for a hard landing. Invertible and quick, Sabretooth proved slippery and several flip attempts served only to overturn Apollo. Sabretooth was unable to inflict significant damage on Apollo with its drum, and ran into the Arena Tyre. Dead Metal went rogue and captured Sabretooth, which was able to escape after the Rogue House Robot cooled off. It became clear shortly after this that Sabretooth's drum had failed. Apollo pursued the fleeing Sabretooth, as it had done throughout the battle, and hurled them into a CPZ again.
- "Come here, little robot!"
- — Dave Young
Apollo followed up this attack with two more flips, while Sabretooth clumsily missed the Arena Tyre. Apollo caught Sabretooth by the lower arena walls and threw Sabretooth out of the arena. The excited Apollo team joined Sabretooth for a group hug, and progressed to the Heat Final.
- "Let down their guard and they just punish you!"
- — Angela Scanlon
Feeling confident having taken down one of the self-confessed biggest threats in the heat, Apollo drew Behemoth in the Heat Final. The faster and lower machine, Apollo effortlessly overturned Behemoth with its wedge and swept it into the CPZ of Sir Killalot. Sliding under Behemoth, it threw Behemoth clean into the air, but Behemoth landed on its wheels. Apollo seemed well in control of the battle until a side ram from Behemoth bucked its front wedge up and allowed Behemoth to breach Apollo's ground clearance. Behemoth hurled Apollo into Dead Metal mid-self-right, and both robots were captured by Dead Metal outside the view of both teams in their control booths. Apollo was thrown free by the motion of its flipper, and threw Behemoth again, almost taking it out of the arena.
Apollo was flipped again by Behemoth, getting stuck on the flame pit, but self-righted and threw Behemoth into Dead Metal's CPZ. The two robots ran into each other, and Behemoth won the ground clearance fight. Apollo was pushed back and retreated, but as it spun away Behemoth caught the rear of the robot and flipped. The momentum of the flip sent Apollo skittering across the arena and into the open pit.
- "It's nip and tuck so far. A deadly attack on Apollo, trying to get in underneath Behemoth, they need to dodge the pit - Apollo are down! Apollo are down!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
The crestfallen Apollo team took consolation in an entertaining fight. For reaching the Heat Final, Apollo would next participate in the 10 Robot Rumble for a last chance to reach the Grand Final, where it would face Big Nipper, Concussion, Eruption, Iron-Awe 6, Sabretooth, Terrorhurtz, Track-tion, Thor and Expulsion in one large battle, with only one winner. For this battle, Alan Young took to the controls of Apollo.
Apollo were a quiet presence at the start of the fight, scuffling with Track-tion and Concussion and nearly shepherding Concussion into the descending pit. It avoided being overturned by Big Nipper's claws, but was hit by a passing Sabretooth and was dramatically flipped over. After the Fog of War, Apollo retreated to the safety of a vacant CPZ, and came out to hurl Iron-Awe 6 clear across the arena. During the second Fog of War, Apollo again retreated and was prepared for the charging Sabretooth, scooping and pivoting to throw it into the plexiglass arena wall.
- "Apollo, oh that's a great attack on Sabretooth. Apollo looks strong in this then, so far!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Apollo flipped Thor into the arena wall but failed to throw it out of the arena. Sabretooth came on the attack again and tore off the top of the flipper, leaving the internals vulnerable. Apollo was harassed by Sabretooth and Big Nipper and accidentally drove over the floor flipper, but was only partially covering it and escaped the flip unscathed. Apollo overturned Terrorhurtz, which struggled to self-right, and was later caught by a Rogue Shunt and pressured into the wall of the CPZ, sustaining an attack. Not shown fully in the TV broadcast, Shunt overturned Apollo, who was noticeably low on gas by the time it self-righted.
- "Apollo and Eruption surely the favourites out there, together!"
- — Jonathan Pearce, as the robots dwindle to three
Apollo was hurled away by Eruption, as by now only they and Terrorhurtz remained alive. Terrorhurtz was soon left stranded against the arena, and Eruption overturned Apollo in the CPZ, where the former champion's depleted CO2 left it stranded. Counted out, Apollo was pushed into the Pit by Shunt, where it lay on top of its the seven conquered robots that had fallen in before it.
Apollo also represented the UK in Robot Wars: World Series. Dave Young of Team MAD was specifically labelled as the captain of the UK side, and Apollo entered the arena with the Union Flag painted across its body. In the Tag Team portion of the tournament, Apollo fought alongside Gabriel 2 against TMHWK from The Netherlands and Cobra from Belgium.
- "The other rest of the world teams don't have the experience that we do. We can flip them out of the arena, and Gabriel can just do its thing in the corner and distract them."
- — Dave Young
Apollo began against Cobra, who was noticeably faster and had considerable manoeuvrability. Apollo declined to flip Cobra on the first few times that Cobra ran up the wedge, instead focusing on driving its wedge towards the four wheeled crusher. Fortunately, Cobra's crusher was too low to gain purchase on the slanted Apollo. Cobra went on the offense, driving Apollo into the pit release button, but Apollo was able to breach Cobra's clearance and flip Cobra into the CPZ.
TMHWK tagged out and Apollo gave way to Gabriel 2 to fight the Dutch machine. After waiting in the CPZ, Apollo re-engaged Cobra and overturned it using the wedge alone. Apollo chased the inverted Cobra through Dead Metal's CPZ. Here, the floor flipper fired and hurled Cobra away, with Dead Metal's pincers getting caught in the underside of the floor flipper. With Dead Metal slightly tilted forward, Apollo attempted to flip the house robot, but the clamped pincers kept Dead Metal grounded. Self-righting from its failed flip, Apollo was caught and sliced by the vengeful house robot, but was rescued by Gabriel 2, which charged in to draw Dead Metal away. Apollo retreated again, but when faced with the combined charge of Dead Metal, Cobra and TMHWK, it joined the fray and hurled TMHWK into the air where it crashed to the ground, seemingly immobile. Apollo took charge of the battle, shepherding Dead Metal into its CPZ and with a powerful flip turned the House Robot onto its side and then over, also causing it to land on Cobra. TMHWK, meanwhile, regained enough mobility to reverse into the pit, leaving three active robots at the end of the battle, which was sent to a Judges' decision, unanimously awarded to Team UK.
In-between Apollo's battles, Dave Young was required to advise his British comrades on how to defeat their opponents, such as recommending that Terrorhurtz opened its Tag Team battle against Diotoir, and that Toby Colliass should ignore his father's pacifism when battling Rabid M8.
Apollo then returned for the episode's finale, the 5-point match that would decide overall which team won. It faced off against Peter Redmond and Diotoir, one of the most experienced teams in the competition.
- "Even if we're on fire and all our fur is burning away, still a killing machine and we're coming for you."
- — Peter Redmond throws down the gauntlet to Apollo
Within seconds, Diotoir drove onto the flame pit and was soon engulfed in flames. Apollo herded Diotoir into Sir Killalot and then flipped it explosively into an empty CPZ. A follow up flip sent Diotoir flying into Sir Killalot's CPZ, where it bounced off its own spinning flywheel. Apollo managed to prop Diotoir against its flywheel, but Dead Metal interfered before it could attempt a follow up attack. The rest of the battle was spent chasing down Sir Killalot, and Apollo made two powerful attempts to flip the massive House Robot, but was unable to get the leverage required. When cease was called, Dave Young kept up his chase and made one last attempt to overturn Sir Killalot, tilting him over in its best effort so far, but was still unable to do it. With Diotoir immobile, Apollo sealed victory for Team UK and Dave Young hoisted the trophy on behalf of the team.
- Angela Scanlon: "Well they put on a show, and you finished the job!"
- Dave Young: "Yeah, absolutely fantastic to see Diotoir back and in flames as well. Launched across the arena, and we had to get our signature pop at the House Robots as well. "
- Angela Scanlon: "Well you almost took Killalot out!"
- Dave Young: "Almost got him over, very close. We'll get him next time."
- Angela Scanlon: "They wanted to see him on his nose! Yes, next time!"
- — Post-match celebrations
|APOLLO - RESULTS|
|Series 8 - UK Championship|
|Heat 4, Group Battle||vs. Kan-Opener, PP3D, Sweeney Todd||Qualified|
|Heat 4, Head-to-Heads||vs. PP3D||Won via KO (3 points)|
|Heat 4, Head-to-Heads||vs. Storm 2||Won via Judges' decision (2 points)|
|Heat 4, Head-to-Heads||vs. Eruption||Lost (0 points)|
|Heat 4, Heat Final||vs. Storm 2||Won|
|Grand Final, Group Battle||vs. Carbide, Shockwave||Qualified|
|Grand Final, Head-to-Heads||vs. TR2||Won via KO (3 points)|
|Grand Final, Head-to-Heads||vs. Carbide||Lost (0 points)|
|Grand Final, Head-to-Heads||vs. Thor||Won via KO (3 points)|
|Grand Final||vs. Carbide||Won|
|Series 9 - UK Championship|
Grand Final, Round 1
|Heat 5, Group Battle||vs. Coyote, Ms Nightshade, Rusty||Qualified|
|Heat 5, Head-to-Heads||vs. Carbide||Lost (0 points)|
|Heat 5, Head-to-Heads||vs. Coyote||Won via KO (3 points)|
|Heat 5, Head-to-Heads||vs. Crackers 'n' Smash||Won via Judges' decision (2 points)|
|Heat 5, Heat Final||vs. Carbide||Lost|
|NOTE: Apollo was awarded the wildcard, allowing it to progress to the Grand Final|
|Grand Final, Group Battle||vs. Aftershock, Eruption||Eliminated|
|Series 10 - UK Championship|
|Heat 1, Group Battle||vs. Apocalypse, The Swarm||Won|
|Heat 1, Semi-Final||vs. Sabretooth||Won|
|Heat 1, Heat Final||vs. Behemoth||Lost|
|10 Robot Rumble||vs. Big Nipper, Concussion, Eruption, Expulsion, Iron-Awe 6, Sabretooth, Terrorhurtz, Thor, Track-tion||Lost|
|World Series, representing the UK|
Partnered with Gabriel 2 in Tag Team
|Episode 1, Tag Team||vs. Cobra, TMHWK||Won via Judges' decision (2 points)|
|Episode 1, Head-to-Head||vs. Diotoir||Won via KO (5 points)|
- Wins: 15
- Losses: 7
|Main Series||Apollo Series Record|
|The First Wars||Did not enter|
|The Second Wars||Did not enter|
|The Third Wars||Did not enter|
|The Fourth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Fifth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Sixth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Seventh Wars|| Featherweight Championship with Alpha and G2|
Withdrew before qualifiers with Merlin
|Series 8|| Grand Champion|
Entered Pilot with Merlin and Monte
|Series 9||Grand Final, Round 1|
|Series 10||Heat Final|
|Robot Wars Extreme||Appearances|
|Series 1||Did not enter|
|Series 2||Entered with Gladiator, Flybot, Chroma and Hades|
Outside Robot WarsEdit
Apollo's history is embedded within Robot Wars competitor Kronic the Wedgehog. After Kronic competed in Robot Wars: The Seventh Wars, it was rebuilt by Team Kronic as Kronic 3, with a considerably improved flipper. It enjoyed much success, winning the Roaming Robots Winter Tour in 2005. In May 2010, Kronic 3 was sold to Team BlazerBotics, who earned the robot much success, having become the Annihilator Champion in 2010 and 2011. The team's ABC BattleBots Season 1 entry, Chronic, was based on Kronic 3, and in turn, Apollo was based on Chronic.
Following on from Apollo's Robot Wars victory, Team MAD appeared on CBBC's Newsround with the robot, promoting robotics and celebrating their success.
In October 2016, Apollo made its first Robots Live! appearance at their Stevenage event. It took part in and won four whiteboard battles, including one against BattleBots competitor Photon Storm and another where it threw Behemoth and The Saint out of the arena in the same fight. Apollo would subsequently appear at the Robots Live! Cannock event later the same month, at one point throwing Chimera eight feet into the air and over the heightened arena wall.
Following the damage that Apollo received from Carbide and Aftershock in Series 9, a brand-new version of the robot was built after the series had concluded filming. The new version features upgrades to its armour, flipper and drive system, making the flipper a ⅓ more powerful than before and increasing its power and top speed to 22hp and 20mph respectively. It made its debut at the Burgess Hill event run by Robots Live! in April 2017. After throwing Bigger Brother out of the arena and defeating Behemoth, Apollo then proceeded to flip the tour's one-tonne House Robot, Goliath. The new version of Apollo continues to appear in Robots Live! events as of October 2017. In the robot's most recent appearance in Stevenage earlier that month, it fought in numerous whiteboard battles and the Tag Team competition; in the latter, Apollo was partnered with Turbulence and reached the final round after the pair defeated Ka-Pow! and Weird mAlice.
- Apollo shared a much-publicised rivalry with Carbide during Series 9, with the Series 8 Grand Final rematch dominating the marketing for the show. Apollo and Carbide are one of four occurrences where two teams fought five times during the show's run, alongside Razer and Tornado, Firestorm and Panic Attack, and Ironside3 and Pulsar.
- Apollo was the first competitor to flip a House Robot since their rebuilds, flipping over Dead Metal, Matilda and Shunt during its heat.
- Apollo is one of two Robot Wars champions to have lost at least one fight in the same main competition it won, the other being Eruption in Series 10, and is also the first champion to lose more fights than a competitor who did not win the championship (TR2).
- Apollo is also the only Robot Wars champion so far to be eliminated during the heat of its title defence. However, it would later reach the Series 9 Grand Final through receiving the wildcard, the only defending champion of any domestic series to do so.
- In February 2017, the official Apollo Twitter account stated that Apollo did not take part in Series 9 due to 'problems'. However, it was revealed shortly after that this was a prank, and that Apollo did take part.
- Apollo's VT for Series 9 was filmed at Pontins, Prestatyn, where Marc Dermott performed a pantomime display, dressed as a horse, while Apollo approached him from behind.
- According to the Team Apollo AMA, Apollo's original Bosch 750 drive motors came from Hypno-Disc and Tornado.
- Apollo and Panic Attack are the only UK Champions to fail to win two heats after becoming champions (though Apollo still reached a Grand Final courtesy of wild card).
- However, Apollo is the only Grand Champion to never win a heat after winning the title.
- Along with Dorset Roboteering Team and Team Toad, Team MAD were one of three teams in Series 10 to place stickers representing their robot on the other competing machines.
- Apollo Team Captain Dave Young is currently the only roboteer from the rebooted series to have held a Robot Wars trophy twice at the end of an episode, lifting the trophy after victories in the Series 8 Grand Final and the first episode of Robot Wars: World Series.
- Apollo and Eruption are the only robots to fight each other in 3 consecutive series.
- ↑ RoboCast #14: Robot Wars Series 10 Heat 1 Review - SamElliott64
- ↑ https://soundcloud.com/insidethebot/23rd-october-2017-robot-wars-heat-a-ants-back-ft-rob-pickfordsabretooth-dave-youngapollo
- ↑ http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2018/01/robot-wars-international
- ↑ https://www.reddit.com/r/robotwars/comments/66ji0f/team_apollo_ama/dgixqk2/
- ↑ https://www.reddit.com/r/robotwars/comments/66ji0f/team_apollo_ama/dgj0qmt/
- Apollo Robot Facebook page
- Apollo Twitter
- Apollo (Series 8) on the Robot Wars website
- Apollo (Series 9) on the Robot Wars website
- David vs Goliath(s): how Apollo flipped the House Robots BBC article and Q&A with Dave Young
- BBC interview with Dave Young on his championship victory
- Haynes Manual interview with Dave Young