- "Josh from Team Rapid is an entrepreneur on a very unique crusade. He's created possibly the world's toughest, most expensive robot, and if you can beat him, he'll give you a job!"
- — Dara Ó Briain
Rapid, styled by the team as RAPID, was a heavyweight robot which competed in Series 9 and 10 of Robot Wars, entered by design and manufacturing firm RPD International. It reached the second round of Series 9, but after being drawn against Aftershock at the beginning of the head-to-heads, it sustained terminal damage and forfeited from the competition. It was more successful in Series 10, reaching the Grand Final by throwing a robot out of the arena in all three battles leading up to it.
- "This incredible, ominous-looking robot hides a world of high-tech engineering"
- — Angela Scanlon
Rapid was built through heavy use of CNC, and is box-wedge shaped, armoured in machined steel. This armour was highly reflective in Series 9, but gold colouring was used in Series 10, and its upper sides were made from polycarbonate to showcase the robot's internals. Its weapon is a very broad 60-bar flipper with seven tonnes of force, which also serves as the robot's self-righting mechanism. Rapid is driven by four wheels towards the back of its shell, providing a top speed of 23mph, increased from 17mph in Series 9, and provides high pushing power, a key element of Rapid's design, which was proved when it easily pushed Dead Metal on the show. The robot's inspiration came from the antweight weight class, in which Andy Hibberd is active, scaling up his antweight robot Anticide by 1000x.
- "Catch it if you can!"
- — Robot Wars: The Official Handbook
According to the Robot Wars website, Rapid cost £25,000 to build at the time of Series 9. This could be explained by the CNC techniques made available by Josh Valman's company RPD International, and Rapid uses top-of-the-line components including motors valued at £1,000. Rapid was reportedly capable of throwing a Transit van one metre into the air. The robot is weighted and shaped so that Rapid lands on its flipper when turned over, for ease of self-righting, and can easily throw opponents out of the arena. In a modification made during the filming of Series 10, the top of Rapid's flipper was decorated with 'cat ears' to hold robots on the face of the wedge. However, Rapid's flipper retracts fairly slowly, leading the team only to use their flipper in specific scenarios, usually near the arena wall, while otherwise relying on the robot's wedge shape, and the arena hazards.
- Dara Ó Briain: "Does it have any weaknesses?"
- Josh Valman: "...it scratches quite easily!"
- — Team RPD's confidence in their design
In Series 9, Rapid's flipper did not run flush to the floor, instead relying on small notches beside the flipper to breach ground clearances. This was altered for Series 10, where although the flipper was still raised from the floor, the flipper had a blade, and the sides surrounding the flipper were made much wider, leading Team RPD to believe they possessed the lowest wedge in Robot Wars. However, Josh Valman referred to his robot as 'completely overengineered', and ultimately their forfeit from Series 9 was because of the inaccessibility of Rapid's parts during the repair process, and the time it would take to remanufacture essential parts.
- "Rapid's full pressure flipper could potentially be too powerful, and do itself damage, and along with its extremely complex design, the armour on the top of the machine is susceptible to axes."
- — The Robot Wars website suggests weaknesses of Rapid
As soon as activate was called, Rapid targeted the lightest machine in the arena, and launched Jellyfish into the air. Rapid required a few seconds to close its flipper, where it was pursued by Terrorhurtz, but once the flipper had retracted, Rapid stormed under Jellyfish, and on a second charge, trapped it on top of the flipper, and backed it into the arena wall. Rapid lined Jellyfish up against the arena wall, where its next flip powerfully threw Jellyfish backwards. Team RPD noticed that Nuts 2 was suffering from mobility issues, so Rapid clamped its open flipper onto the chains of Nuts, and dragged it towards Matilda, which threw Nuts 2 out of the arena with her flywheel. Rapid returned to Jellyfish, pushing it into an empty CPZ to throw it high once more, although Rapid then sustained a blow from Terrorhurtz. Rapid's flip has caused Jellyfish to lose fluent control, so Rapid fled from the pursuing Terrorhurtz, failing to breach its wedge, but cease was called and both robots qualified, with Rapid only sustaining minor damage to its wedge.
- Dara Ó Briain: "You got under some but didn't get under others..."
- Josh Valman: "Well it's a balance between getting it low enough and not getting caught on every screw at the bottom of the arena, so we've got to find that balance."
- — Post-battle chat on Rapid's ground clearance
- "If we go out of the competition, it's going to be our fault, I don't think it'll be the opponent."
- — Josh Valman in his rather prophetic VT
Rapid was not hesitant in its attack, and snuck straight under the front ground clearance of Aftershock, driving it into the arena wall and flipping it high, causing the spinner to land on its disc, and self-right. However, while Rapid's flipper was still open, Aftershock hit it from underneath, and knocked the robot towards Sir Killalot. Rapid was still mobile, but on another charge, it rode up the ground clearance of Aftershock, and was thrown over. Rapid attempted to self-right, but threw itself straight back onto its open flipper, and tumbled onto its back. Rapid's flipper would not close, leaving it unable to self-right, so it was counted out and defeated by knockout.
- "£25,000 worth of machinery, hours and hours of work ends up like that! Sympathy? None here!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
It was revealed after this battle that Aftershock had significantly bent the flipper arm, which required cutting in half and re-welding straight before its next fight against Terrorhurtz. While the team reassembled the robot, they discovered that its gearbox had also seized, with one of its wheels locking up and potentially rendering it unable to drive straight. As the repairs required an extra hour to complete, and were therefore impossible to make within the allotted time, Rapid was forced to forfeit its place in the remainder of the second round. Jellyfish was reinstated to fight Terrorhurtz in Rapid's place, with Team RPD offering Jellyfish their spare speed controller.
- "Something's got into the gearbox. Problem is, the gearbox is just too deep inside for us to fix that in time, so I think we're going to have to forfeit, gonna be too long to get back into the game."
- — Josh Valman
- "Rapid was a disappointment last series, with promises of enough power to flip a transit van 1m into the the air going unfulfilled due to technical issues causing them to withdraw from the competition. Team captain Josh may seem unassuming but he has the spirit of an inventor who refuses to take the word ‘no' for an answer. This machine is assured to take the fight to the real heavyweights of the competition and I look forward to seeing what it’s capable of in the arena."
- — Professor Sethu Vijayakumar
Rapid competed in Heat 3 of Series 10, where despite being relatively inexperienced competitors themselves, Team RPD proved to be the veteran competitors against newcomers Track-tion and Bucky the Robot in their first battle. The team introduced themselves by revealing to Dara Ó Briain that RPD International pledged to hire roboteers capable of defeating the newly improved Rapid, and that the competition was the best place to scout talent.
- Dara Ó Briain: "You are using this whole process to find talent?"
- Josh Valman: "Yeah, Robot Wars inspires engineering, it's how I got into engineering. The best people that we want to hire need to be better than everybody we know, so anyone that beats us, come and see us!"
- — RPD International's unique hiring process
Moments after the battle begun, Rapid headed straight for the Arena Tyre, which activated Fog of War, and Rapid pushed Bucky the Robot into Matilda during this time. As Fog of War was ending, Rapid was briefly caught by the arena spikes, but more pertinently the hazard overturned Track-tion, leaving it vulnerable near the arena wall. Rapid capitalised by throwing Track-tion high over the arena wall and into the trench with its first flip, leaving it to fight Bucky the Robot alone.
- "Rapid looks much better than when we last saw them, when they couldn't perform the repairs on their heavily armoured bot in the pits, and they had to pull out!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Rapid pursued Bucky the Robot into two empty CPZ's, driving underneath it, and eventually managed to catch Bucky the Robot near the arena side wall, and flip it onto the wall. As Team RPD thought Bucky the Robot was pinned and immobile, Rapid held off until Bucky the Robot freed itself and returned to the battle. Rapid returned to the fleeing Bucky the Robot to catch it side-on and parade it around the arena, eventually dropping it in front of Matilda, and then used its wedge shape to knock it briefly off-balance. Rapid drove Bucky the Robot towards the trench again, but threw it backwards, and onto its wheels again, causing Rapid to flee for the next few moments until its flipper retracted. Rapid positioned Bucky the Robot on top of the arena spikes, where it was flipped over, and could not self-right. However, while Rapid spun in circles in the centre of the arena, time expired on the three-minute match, and had to be sent to a Judges' decision.
- "Even though many of us know who won that fight, it has to go the Judges because you didn't immobilise them in time."
- — Dara Ó Briain to Josh Valman
Rapid had comfortably won the unanimous Judges' decision, and progressed to the Semi-Final, where it would once again face Track-tion, which had just defeated Apex. Josh Valman stated his disappointment that he could not have faced a new opponent, as Vulture was available to battle Rapid at this stage. Track-tion had been modified for the battle, removing its crushing claw to use Vulture's anti-spinner scoop.
- Dara Ó Briain: "If you win, you'll have beaten a load of twelve- and thirteen-year olds. If you lose, you'll have lost to a load of twelve- and thirteen-year olds. So it's kind of a no-win situation, really. What are you going to do?"
- Josh Valman: "I'm not sure, it's a shame, we wanted to fight someone else, and get some more test data."
- Dara Ó Briain: "Really? Why, would you not get test data from being in there?"
- Josh Valman: "Well we've fought them already! We'll see what happens, they're quite hard to get hold of."
- Dara Ó Briain: "They are, and they've got that big front end now."
- — Dara Ó Briain and Team RPD on the rematch with Track-tion
With Rapid and Track-tion loaded into the arena, Andy Hibberd noticed that Rapid was suffering from a leakage, and questioned whether to use the flipper to end the battle quickly, or to fight without the use of its weapon. It was decided that Rapid would use the weaponry to end the fight quickly, and managed to do so in record time. In the shortest battle in Robot Wars, Rapid easily drove under the front wedge of Track-tion, and flipped it straight over the arena wall behind it, ending the battle in just 5.6 seconds.
- "Josh, Andy and Lettie knew they had a problem, they knew they had to go out and out for a quick victory!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
In the Heat Final, Rapid faced Robot Wars veteran Terrorhurtz for the second time in its career, for a place in the Grand Final. In preparation for its opponent's powerful axe, Team RPD applied a layer of HDPE to the top of their robot.
- Dara Ó Briain: "Two robots have earned their place in tonight's final, Rapid, the self-made millionaire with the best robot money can build!"
- Angela Scanlon: "Against Terrorhurtz, the Grand-daddy of Robot Wars, with that deadly axe. But only one can win!"
- — The presenters compare the old and new teams
Rapid started the quicker, and moved Terrorhurtz straight onto the floor flipper, turning it over, and Rapid managed to capitalise on Terrorhurtz's self-righting by putting it straight back on the floor flipper for a follow-up attack, all the while preserving Rapid's own weapon. Rapid drove itself under Terrorhurtz to prevent its self-righting, and pushed the flipped robot into an empty CPZ, but knocked its own HDPE loose while pressing against Terrorhurtz. Rapid still managed to drive Terrorhurtz into the grip of Dead Metal, and then back into an empty corner before its HDPE panel was fully axed away.
- "So far Rapid has been a little bit squeaky, leaky, sneaky in victory!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
When Terrorhurtz was freed, Rapid used its flipper for the first time in the battle to toss Terrorhurtz upwards, right in front of the arena wall, but did not throw its opponent out. Rapid returned to evasion as it tried to close its flipper, but avoided Terrorhurtz's attacks, and drove under it to throw it across the arena, and into another wall. This time, Rapid was bumped into while trying to retract its weapon, but responded by using the floor flipper to turn Terrorhurtz over again, and then pushed Terrorhurtz into Dead Metal's CPZ. However, Rapid was the robot to be attacked by Dead Metal, sustaining a direct attack to its surface, also allowing Terrorhurtz to visibly damage the back end of Rapid which was formerly protected by HDPE, although Terrorhurtz's axe ceased shortly afterwards.
- "What a final this is! One moment, one's on top, then the other!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Rapid continued to be attacked by Dead Metal even when pushing Terrorhurtz back into danger, but pushed the House Robot back in retaliation and held it over the flame pit for nearly ten seconds, and then escaped. Rapid's opportunity presented itself at this stage, as it lined Terrorhurtz against the arena wall and launched it out of the arena. Rapid had qualified for the Grand Final, having flipped a robot out of the arena in all three of its battles.
- Dara Ó Briain: "You used this arena tactically, you fed them to flipper, you fed them to the flipper again, you fed them to the House Robots, and you basically tried to manoeuvre them around. Again, a deliberate idea?"
- Josh Valman: "Yeah, yep, yeah I think so, we were quite lucky to get under the House Robots as well."
- Dara Ó Briain: "Absolutely, well I mean it was quite impressive actually, I have to say, and you're through to the Grand Final. I mean, are you going to keep these tactics up?"
- Josh Valman: "Well we might blow ourselves up yet, we've still got to find out!"
- — Team RPD's intentions for the final
|RAPID - RESULTS|
|Series 9 - UK Championship|
Round 2, withdrew
|Heat 1, Group Battle||vs. Jellyfish, Nuts 2, Terrorhurtz||Qualified|
|Heat 1, Head-to-Heads||vs. Aftershock||Lost (0 points)|
|NOTE: After its first Head-to-Head, Rapid forfeited so Jellyfish was reinstated.|
|Series 10 - UK Championship|
|Heat 3, Group Battle||vs. Bucky the Robot, Track-tion||Won|
|Heat 3, Semi-Final||vs. Track-tion||Won|
|Heat 3, Heat Final||vs. Terrorhurtz||Won|
|Grand Final, Group Battle||vs. Unknown||TBD|
- Wins: 4
- Losses: 1
|Series 1-7||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Heat Round 2, Withdrew|
|Series 10||Grand Final|
Outside Robot WarsEdit
Josh Valman's first robot was a lower weight class competitor known as Shovit which fought Dave Lawrie's robot at what was their first event. Team driver Andy Hibberd built an antweight called Anticide armed with a flipper which found great success, becoming a six-time antweight world series champion, eventually inspiring Rapid's design. Hibberd also built Kwijebo, a shufflebot armed with a vertical drum, previously a vertical spinning disc, Nom Nom Nom, which is armed with a vertical spinner, and Ickle, a fleaweight version of Kwijebo. During the 53 Antweight World Series, Anticide came third.
Josh Valman has also designed a featherweight called Astro (also spelt as ASTRO), armed with a flipper. It takes its design from Rapid, albeit with smaller front wheels and angled side panels.
- The team are all employees at RPD International, the company owned by Josh Valman, hence the robot's name.
- As the £25,000 valuations of Storm 2 and Kan-Opener were spent across the entire competitive histories of those robots, spanning over a decade, Rapid is the most expensive robot to be purpose-built for a series of Robot Wars.
- Team RPD had a memorable 'hero shot' when they entered the arena in Series 9, as Josh Valman opened an umbrella in the face of the steam jets. This umbrella actually belonged to Tara Ware.
- Rapid is only the second robot to win a heat by throwing a robot out of the arena in all of its battles, after Atomic.
- RAPID Robotwars 2017 Facebook page
- Team RAPID on Twitter
- Rapid (Series 9) on the Robot Wars website
- Rapid (Series 10) on the Robot Wars website
- Haynes Manuals interview with Team RPD
- RPD International