- "This is a flipper but because it's called Apollo we're calling it a launcher."
- — The team describe their weapon
Apollo is a heavyweight robot which competed in Series 8-9 of Robot Wars. In Series 8, it won the UK Championship by defeating Carbide in the Grand Final, becoming the first UK Champion since Panic Attack to win the series in which it debuted. It was one of two robots to flip another robot out of the arena in the new arena, and also flipped three of the four House Robots.
Apollo was built by Team MAD, consisting of Dave Young, Marc Dermott, and originally Ben Bacon. Team MAD's usual captain, Alan Young, owns Apollo and competes with it at Robots Live! events, which are run by Team MAD. However, Alan Young could not be a member of Apollo's team in Series 8, due to his involvement with the production of the programme. Team MAD had previous experience on Robot Wars with various featherweight and antweight robots.
Apollo is 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, which was carried out to allow the United States to land humans on the moon before the former Soviet Union. 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 is modelled after Chronic, a BattleBots entry built by Alan Young, although the two robots are completely separate builds.
Apollo's flipper is 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 srimech. Apollo's ground clearance is the width of a pound coin (around 3mm).
In Series 9, Apollo gained a new 100mm bore ram producing five tonnes of force, and new VEX robotics controllers, but was otherwise relatively unchanged.
Apollo appeared in Episode 4, where in the first round, it was drawn against Kan-Opener, PP3D, and Sweeney Todd. After Kan-Opener pressed the pit release, the four competitors hovered around the floor flipper, which then fired and launched Apollo into the air, and landing on its back, after self-righting.
- "Apollo's in orbit!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Apollo went and flipped Kan-Opener, which also had PP3D within its claws. However, PP3D got underneath and removed the back left tyre of Apollo, leaving Apollo only capable of driving in a circular motion. Apollo still managed to slip underneath Kan-Opener and launch it, which removed the yellow robot's safety link, immobilising it. After some minor collisions, Apollo flipped PP3D against the arena wall. It then went on to flip the already immobilised Sweeney Todd repeatedly, launching the middleweight across the arena. Despite Apollo's inactive wheel, it progressed alongside PP3D.
In its first head-to-head, Apollo was drawn against PP3D once again. This time, Apollo kept its front towards the spinner robot at all times, to prevent another tyre being torn off. After a few collisions which did no damage, Apollo got a flip in on PP3D, and this caused PP3D to lose a wheel. PP3D was yet to be rendered immobile, and spun its spinner up to full speed, but Apollo showed no fear, and flipped PP3D across the arena. This knocked out PP3D's removable link, and Apollo was given three points for the knockout win.
In its second head-to-head, it faced the highly successful Storm 2. Both started by colliding into each other, but Storm 2's low ground clearance meant that Apollo would merely ride up the wedge. Apollo found an opportunity to flip Storm 2 from one of its corners, meaning it could push Storm 2 around. Apollo pushed Storm 2 on to the floor flipper, which flipped Storm 2, but didn't right it. At this point, Apollo lost one of its chains, but was still able to drive to a reasonable extent. Apollo took time away from its opponent to stray into Dead Metal's CPZ, and became the first robot to flip a House Robot in Series 8.
- "Apollo drives into the CPZ - ah, ha ha! How dare you!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Dead Metal is flipped
- "Houston, we have a problem with Apollo!"
- — Pearce, spotting Apollo's drive problems
Eventually, the pit was lowered and Storm 2 nearly pushed its opponent into the pit, but Apollo managed to survive. The judges gave their unanimous decision in favour of Apollo, scoring it 2 points.
With enough points to guarantee a place in the Heat Final, Apollo competed against fellow newcomer Eruption, which had failed to score enough points to go through by this stage. Apollo got under Eruption and managed to flip Eruption on to the flame pit. After a tussle, Eruption flipped Apollo, and over-flipping in the process, however they both self-righted.
- "And Apollo, dancing around. The famous Bluecoats, dancers and prancers and... a tumble in the rumble of Robot Wars!"
- — Pearce watches on as Eruption and Apollo flip each other
At this stage Apollo was drawn against Storm 2 again. Apollo was again struggling to breach Storm 2's ground clearance, and was pushed into Shunt's CPZ. Unfazed, Apollo overturned a House Robot for the third time. Storm 2 pressed the pit release, and Storm 2 started chasing Apollo around. Turning the tides, Apollo got a flip in on Storm 2, and then another. Matilda came in and chased Storm 2 and Apollo out of the CPZ, and then righted Shunt. Storm 2 then drove on to the flipper of Apollo, and was flipped up against the arena side wall. Apollo followed this up with a second flip, throwing the Robot Wars World Champion out of the arena completely, and Apollo qualified for the Grand Final.
In the group battle of its Grand Final, 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 had sustained, putting Apollo through to the next round.
- 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
Apollo's first battle in the head-to-heads was against TR2. Apollo's ground clearance proved to be lower than TR2's newly welded wedge, and it threw the flipper into the air. Apollo threw it again, and then flipped TR2 right onto the trench wall, barely failing to flip it out. Apollo's next flip caused TR2 to land on Dead Metal's saw, although TR2 flipped Apollo in response. Apollo lifted Dead Metal once again, not quite flipping it, and was overturned by TR2 for its efforts. Apollo flipped TR2 twice, and self-righted when overturned by TR2. After some final tentative flips, Apollo flipped TR2 onto its back, from which it could not self-right. Apollo won the battle by KO, and earned three points, although the team were unhappy to learn that they would face Carbide next.
In accordance with the team's battle plan, Apollo charged straight for Carbide in an effort to stop the spinning bar. This quickly backfired, as Carbide's second hit knocked the removable link out of Apollo, immobilising it. Apollo sustained some extra attacks from the celebratory Carbide, damaging the vulnerable back end. Cease was called, and Apollo had lost the battle.
- "Cheap Shot!"
- — Dave Young to Team Carbide
Apollo needed to defeat Thor in order to qualify for the final battle. A cartoon plaster covered up some of the damage caused by Carbide. Part of the battle was won without Apollo's input, when Thor was overturned by driving over the floor flipper. Apollo launched the inverted Thor, and vital components fell out of it. Apollo kept its distance, and earned three points, enough to put it into the final battle 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 damage in retaliation, losing pieces of armour but managing to flip again. Apollo threw the deadly spinner five times in succession, stopping Carbide's bar from turning, but after another flip, Apollo's own weapon stopped working, jamming open. 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, 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. Cease was called, and the final was sent to 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 Robot Wars champion, 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
|APOLLO - RESULTS|
|Series 8 - UK Championship|
|Episode 4, Group Battle||vs. Kan-Opener, PP3D, Sweeney Todd||Qualified|
|Episode 4, Head-to-Heads||vs. PP3D||Won via KO (3 points)|
|Episode 4, Head-to-Heads||vs. Storm 2||Won via Judges' Decision (2 points)|
|Episode 4, Head-to-Heads||vs. Eruption||Lost (0 points)|
|Episode 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|
|Episode 5, Group Battle||vs. Coyote, Ms Nightshade, Rusty||Unknown|
- Wins: 8
- Losses: 2
|Main Series||Apollo 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
|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 was the first competitor to flip a House Robot since their rebuilds, flipping over Dead Metal, Matilda and Shunt in both of its battles with Storm 2.
- Due to the structure of Series 8, Apollo is the first Robot Wars champion to have lost at least one fight in the same series it won, and also the first champion to lose more fights than a competitor who did not win the championship (TR2).
- Also due to the structure of Series 8, Apollo has contested more fights (10) than any other Grand Champion on its way to winning the title.
- Apollo and TR2 are the only robots to have fought three robots on multiple occasions during a single UK Championship run (fighting PP3D twice, Storm 2 twice, and Carbide three times), though Apollo is the only robot to fight one of those robots three times.
- 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 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