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"I decided that the most spectacular way to win a fight would be to cause significant damage to the opposition, after all the competition was called Robotwars!"
— Team Supernova website[1]

Supernova was a competitor robot from Series 5 to 9 of Robot Wars. It was the second robot built by Team Supernova, formerly Team Trinity.

Supernova's best performance in the UK series was in The Sixth Wars, when it reached the Heat Final before losing to Spawn Again. Its other appearances saw it lose in the first round in Series 5, 7 and 8, while it placed third in the Head-to-Head stage of its heat in Series 9. It also represented Sri Lanka in the The Third World Championship, reaching the final before losing to UK representative Storm 2.

DesignEdit

Supernova

Supernova in Series 5

Supernova logo

The Supernova logo from Series 6-7

Supernova was a low, fast, two-wheeled, invertible robot, which in Series 5 was pale yellow in colour. In Series 6, the paint scheme was blue and red in the vein of Superman, with the character's logo displayed directly above the word 'Nova'. For Series 8, Supernova abandoned the Superman S on its top armour in favour of a new logo, showing a supernova surrounding the latter half of its name. The Series 9 build of Supernova featured a black and red colour scheme, with a new logo on its top panel combining an 'S' with the robot's name.

Supernova Arena

Supernova in the arena during Series 6

Its main weapon was a 22kg half metre, 2000RPM horizontal spinning disc, driven by a 12HP motor and capable of ripping robots to pieces with its sharp hammerheads on the sides, but mostly specialised in knocking loose components inside and causing the robot to break down. Supernova's disc was almost a quarter of the robot's weight. However, the armour was thin and Supernova was often hurled away from its opponents due to the immense power of the disc, which would require the team to adapt to their new position in the arena despite also offering a quick getaway from opponents.

In Series 5, the robot had 265mm dia wheels from RS, the same type used by Pussycat.

" I was impressed by the fact that they survived so well against Hypno and Chaos's flips. They are also fairly cheap at £10 a go."
— Team Supernova website

The chassis was made from 5mm dural, and the robot was powered by hawker 16Ah genesis batteries supplied by sponsors Hawker Energy. The disc was 467mm in diameter, and was built with the help of University College London.

"We will be using a smaller disc than Hypno-disc (700mm), ours will be about 467mm in diameter. The actual outside ring is a 16mm steel section from a oil rig member! Thanks again to the guys at UCL for letting me use it. The energy increases dramatically with angular velocity. Unlike other teams using a motor to drive their disc, we will be gearing the disc up from the motor. The motor produces 2000rpm, hopefully we can run the disc at about 4000rpm! Possibly higher, depending on the acceleration time."
— Team Supernova website[2]

The robot was armoured in 6mm aluminium, supplied by sponsors Avon Metals.[3] It was powered by a 36 volt electric motor.

Supernova7

Supernova in Series 7

Supernova 2016

Supernova in Series 8

For Series 6 and 7, Supernova was altered. The wheel guards were removed, and the motors were upgraded to two 750 watt motors. The weight was reduced by 4 kg. For Series 7, the speed of the disc was increased to 2500rpm.

"Supernova 1 is identical in shape and size. The main difference is that it used sealed lead acid batteries (SLA) for power. I stopped using these batteries as there is a significant weight saving in using NiCad batteries. Originally there were 3 16Ah Hawker 12V batteries in the robot that weighed 19Kg in total. Supernova 2 uses NiCad which weigh 12Kg, due to their lower internal resistance they match the performance of SLA batteries at a lower weight. The saving in weight on the batteries made it possible to make a much stronger chassis, Supernova 1 had a 5mm chassis, Supernova 2 was constructed from mainly 8mm to 15mm Aluminium."
— Team Supernova website, comparing the versions of Supernova[4]

In Series 8, Supernova was armoured in aluminium alloy, which was between 5 and 10 mm thick. It had two 1 horsepower motors, which allowed it to reach speeds of 10mph, and the robot was powered by 50 volt Lithium Polymer batteries. The disc actually bent in testing due to the power, but the design had become somewhat out of date in Series 8, as its teeth became prone to falling off the disc.[5]

Supernova-team series 9

Supernova with its team in Series 9

Supernova 9 turntable

Supernova as it appeared on the turntable

For Series 9, a new build of Supernova was introduced, with a revised chassis and a brand-new spinning disc made out of one piece of hardened steel, the same type used on armoured tanks. The new disc still weighed 22kg and spun at 2,500rpm, but was now one solid disc which had two teeth integrated into the disc in order to prevent them from shearing off upon contact with opponents. Supernova's armour now consisted of 3-6mm HARDOX. The drive system was changed to two Brushed Motors.[6] The team also lined Supernova's wheels with rubber from bicycle tyre treads in an attempt to combat the robot's recurring problem of rebounding away from robots upon contact.

"One of the features of Supernova is that it's a bit unpredictable when the disc hits. We've tried to make that better by putting more grip around the wheels, so that when we hit something, at least we get some traction so we can recover more quickly."
— Suren Balendran in Series 9

QualificationEdit

Supernova at fifth wars qualifiers

Supernova at the Fifth Wars qualifiers

Supernova made its first appearance at the Series 5 qualifiers, where it fought Fire and Ice. The result is unknown, but Supernova qualified, unlike Fire and Ice.

"We were on a bench next to a robot called "Fire and Ice". ... It was a 2 Wheeled robot that looked like a parallogram from the side. It was made from 3mm thick 1" square tube with 3mm polycarbonate panels as Armour. We had the usual safety check which the robot passed. We then found out that we would be fighting "Fire and Ice". I had never seen it moving so I did not know how the fight would go. They had flipping wedges on their front and back that were pneumatically operated But Supernova could run upside down. I then realized that i had never driven it up side down and so did not know if i would have interference problems!"
— Team Supernova website[7]

At the Series 6 qualifiers, Supernova fought Behemoth and Mini Morg. Both Mini Morg and Supernova broke down during the qualifier and Behemoth pushed both robots out of the arena. However, Supernova was given a discretionary place, unlike Mini Morg.

To qualify for Series 7, Supernova fought German Hammer and Hammerhead 2. It caused severe damage to German Hammer, causing it to become immobilised mid-battle, and also caused a lot of damage to Hammerhead 2. As a result, Supernova won the battle and automatically qualified, whilst Hammerhead 2 was given a discretionary place.

Supernova qualified for Series 8 and 9 via open application, but the team were unable to enter Series 10 due to personal commitments.[8]

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 5Edit

In its first ever televised fight, Supernova was drawn against the very experienced 15th seeds Behemoth.

Philippa Forrester: "It's not very nice when you've spent a long time making a robot to have it trashed, and are you slightly worried that it's going to be trashed by Behemoth?"
Suren Balendran: "Yeah, I've just seen the new Behemoth, and it looks pretty lethal, so I'm worried. But then we've got a lethal weapon as well."
— Pre-battle interview.
Supernova vs Behemoth

A strong blow from Supernova

Supernova reversed to start with, and when Behemoth closed in, Supernova drove up the arena to avoid it. It turned around, and Behemoth drove straight into the disc. Behemoth was knocked aside, but Supernova knocked itself into the arena wall. Supernova quickly reversed across the arena, getting the disc up to speed. Behemoth followed, but then reversed rather than charging at Supernova. Supernova drove up the arena, then charged at Behemoth, sending Behemoth spinning away.

"Don't forget, Supernova's coming in with 99 kilos of force, then you've got the spinning disc, and Behemoth literally turned around a complete 360 degrees! And you're spinning 98 kilos of Behemoth there."
— Jonathan Pearce

Behemoth drove into the arena centre, and Supernova followed, but Behemoth managed to dodge as it closed in, and managed to get side on and lift Supernova up. Supernova reversed, and Behemoth tried another lift on the side, but only lifted it up a tiny bit, and Supernova gave it a glancing blow with the disc on the side, before driving past and turning around for another charge. Supernova drove around Behemoth, Behemoth chased it, but Supernova managed to dodge its opponent, but after Behemoth got under it, Supernova quickly got if it but then drove into the wall. This allowed Behemoth to hit it with the axe and push it with the scoop, flipping it over. Behemoth pinned Supernova down with the scoop and pushed it toward's Matilda's CPZ, holding it against the wall.

"Aggression from both machines, then."
— Jonathan Pearce
SupernovaTopRippedOff

Matilda rips Supernova's top off

Supernova managed to escape and reverse away, and Behemoth tried to open the pit, but missed twice. Supernova reversed into a CPZ, and Behemoth came in, trying it to lift it over the fence, but the gyroscopic forces held Supernova down. After driving into the wall, Supernova reversed away as Sir Killalot came into the CPZ. Sir Killalot blocked Behemoth's escape with his claw, before Behemoth escaped. Supernova was waiting for it on the pit, and Behemoth drove straight at it, lifting it up, causing Supernova to fall so the disc was facing away from it. Behemoth pushed Supernova into Matilda's CPZ, and in trying to get away, Supernova drove straight into Matilda's flywheel, which ripped its top off. Supernova drove into the corner, and as it tried to reverse out of the CPZ, it reversed straight into Matilda's flywheel, which knocked it in the air, with another bit of armour flying off and the wheel guard being damaged.

"...which means the innards are now exposed and vulnerable to attack from the Behemoth axe!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Supernova landed, and appeared to be struggling to move forwards. It reversed into Behemoth, and Behemoth got behind Supernova, hiting the open internals with the axe and pushing it into the arena wall. It dragged Supernova away from the wall, and hit it with the axe again a couple of times, before dragging it back. Supernova was not moving, and Sir Killalot came in, pushing Supernova off the pit with the claw, but did not do any more damage.

BehemothSupernova

Behemoth finishes off Supernova

"...Supernova, for me, had started very strongly, now Behemoth has this Heat by the scruff of its neck."
— Jonathan Pearce

Behemoth opened the pit, got behind Supernova, nudged it towards the pit, then lifted it in, eliminating Supernova from the competition.

"Well, it was a brightness in the arena while it lasted, the Supernova. About to become a dark star, and of course, to go down our very own black hole, from which no roboteer ever emerges. Good victory by Behemoth, hard earned. At what cost, I wonder?"
— Jonathan Pearce as Behemoth pits Supernova

Series 6Edit

"A dying star, or a champagne supernova?"
— Jonathan Pearce as Supernova enters the arena.

Supernova's first round melee in the Sixth Wars saw it go up against newcomers to the televised show Short Circuit, the number 10 seeds Spawn Again, and the experienced Tiberius 3.

Darren Hayden-Ball: "Only one we're really worried about is Supernova."
Philippa Forrester: "Why?"
Darren Hayden-Ball: "Have you seen the disc on the front?"
Philippa Forrester: "That's what they're all saying, so it's the disc on the front of Supernova that they're all a little bit concerned about!"
— Spawn Again's pre-battle interview.
Tiberius crushes Supernova

Supernova is caught by Tiberius 3

Having added extra armour to the back to withstand the spinning disc, Tiberius started by reversing at Supernova, but Supernova dodged, driving at Short Circuit before turning away. Short Circuit drove near the wall by a CPZ, and Supernova went after it again, hitting it with the disc. However, Tiberius closed in on Supernova. Supernova turned around, and Tiberius got under Supernova and pinned it against the wall. Supernova knocked Tiberius away with the disc, but when it tried to land another hit on Tiberius, it was knocked aside into the wall. Tiberius pinned Supernova against the wall again, this time getting at an angle so the spinning disc did not hit it, and crushed into the top.

"Supernova we've seen before, the team represented in earlier series by the Oblivion machine, and about to be sent to oblivion I would imaged, if Tiberius 3 keeps its grip on the top there."
— Jonathan Pearce
Supernova vs Short Circuit

Supernova shreds Short Circuit

Sergeant Bash came into the CPZ, and pushed at Tiberius, but Tiberius kept its grip on Supernova. Supernova had one wheel on the floor, and rocked back and forth to try and escape, but Tiberius would not let go and Supernova could not get free. Sir Killalot pushed the two, and Tiberius still held on to its opponent. After this however, Tiberius loosened its grip, and Supernova pushed forward with its free wheel, then hit Tiberius with the disc, allowing it to get free. Tiverius had also had its crusher bent as a result. Its escape was blocked by Sir Killalot when it drove forwards, and Sergeant Bash when it tried reversing. Short Circuit came in, and Supernova grinded into the side with the disc, causing the baseplate of Short Circuit to come loose. Supernova drove away, and charged into the wall by a CPZ. Tiberius reversed in after it, and was sent spinning away by the disc. Supernova charged at Short Circuit, causing more damage with the flywheel, and the newcomer stopped moving.

"...and Supernova, with that front-lodged flywheel, is certainly very destructive thus far!"
— Jonathan Pearce
Sir K Breastplate

Supernova by Sir Killalot's breastplate

Leaving Short Circuit, Supernova charged at Tiberius, knocking it away, in front of Spawn Again, which Supernova gave a glancing blow with the flywheel. Spawn Again got its flipper under Tiberius, which was not moving, and flipped it, from which it could not self-right. Supernova drove into Sergeant Bash's side as he came in, and when Sir Killalot drove into the top CPZ near Supernova, its breastplate fell off. Supernova drove at Spawn Again, but missed, then drove down the arena, and as Refbot began to count Short Circuit out, Supernova hit the side again, causing the baseplate to drop off from the rest of the robot.

"It has split it open, Supernova, with that attack! We are seeing one of the most destructive weapons thus far in Robot Wars: The Sixth Wars!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Supernova drove back up the arena and rammed into Spawn Again, then Tiberius. Spawn Again was struggling to move, so Supernova continued to hit it, causing a large scar in the side. Spawn Again stopped moving, and Supernova landed a couple more blows as Tiberius was counted out. Short Circuit was pitted by Sergeant Bash, and Tiberius was placed on the floor flipper by Sir Killalot, tossed, before being pitted by Sir Kiallalot.

"I'll tell you what, of the two, Supernova was by far the more impressive. Spawn Again, one launch of the flipper, that was about it!"
— Jonathan Pearce after Tiberius 3 was counted out.

In the second round, Supernova was drawn up against Ming 3.

"The problem is, my wheels are spinning disc magnets, and every time I come up against spinning discs, they go straight for the wheels. I know I should do something about it, but now I can't!"
— Andrew Cotterell before the fight
Supernova vs Ming 3

Supernova severs a cable on Ming 3

Both machines drove at each other, Supernova targeting the exposed wheels of Ming 3, but missed on its initial charge. Both machines turned to face each other, and Ming 3 got under Supernova.

"Both teams have experience of Robot Wars, but no experience of great success. Supernova, hugely improved."
— Jonathan Pearce

As Ming 3 closed the crusher, Supernova slid off the wedge. Ming 3 drove around Supernova, before driving away for another attack. Ming 3 got under Supernova, and Supernova drove up the wedge, breaking a cable on the side of Ming 3's crusher, meaning the self-righting mechanism was now useless. Supernova landed a glancing blow on one of the wheels, leaving Ming 3 hobbled.

"Now, will they attack Andrew Cotterill's wheels? That's what they're aiming at, plain as day."
— Jonathan Pearce

After a couple more hits on the wheels, the tyre was broken from one of the wheels, leaving the wheel spinning inside the tyre. Blows from Supernova had also caused a gash in Ming 3's side and a piece of armour had been ripped from the front. Ming 3 could not move forward, rocking back and forth on one wheel.

"Ming 3 has taken so much damage, and Supernova can probably hold off now, and choose its moment, and angle of attack."
— Jonathan Pearce
Ming 3 vs Supernova

Supernova knocks out Ming 3

Supernova slowly moved in again, choosing to attack the front, but drove at the wrong angle, so merely went over the wedge and past Ming 3. Supernova tried again, charging at Ming 3's front, but Ming 3 turned at the right time as Supernova wnt up the wedge, meaning Supernova's disc did not hit the crusher, and Supernova slipped off the wedge as Ming 3 continued to turn. Supernova turned around, but drove over the wedge again. Supernova got at Ming 3's side, knocking it back with the disc. Ming 3 could still only spin on one wheel, and Supernova ripped off some armour on the back, then hit the other wheel, breaking it. Ming 3 could now not move at all, and was counted out by Refbot.

"The tyre is simply not, there's no purchase on the arena floor. Ming 3, severely handicapped, is a mere pedestrian now, in Supernova's path of attack. ... and Supernova looks very, very good."
— Jonathan Pearce

Shunt pushed it onto the floor flipper, which threw it, then pitted Ming 3.

"I think we can go quite far, judging by the appearance of the robot."
— Nishani Balendran, asked by Craig Charles how far she thought Supernova could go.

This put Supernova through to the Heat Final, where it was up against Spawn Again again.

"They are a good robot, they're a seed, but yeah, I think we should be okay, they're still having some problems now with interfence."
— Suren Balendran on Spawn Again

It was seen as having a good chance of defeating the seeded machine, as Spawn Again had struggled in its two previous battles.

"Spawn Again has the flipper, but I felt it was really troubled by Spam in Round 2. On the other hand, Supernova looked most impressive against Ming 3. So I'm going to go for Supernova, to dazzle us all here!"
— Jonathan Pearce's prediction for the Heat Final
Spawn Again flips Supernova

Supernova is flipped by Spawn Again

Both robots charged at each other, and Supernova was knocked aside by Spawn Again. Supernova charged at Spawn Again, but Spawn Again reversed and dodged it. Supernova turned around and charged at Spawn Again, but drove up the flipper. Spawn Again flipped it, and Supernova landed right way up. It turned around Spawn Again for another attack, but drove into an angle grinder and stopped moving forwards, despite the wheels spinning.

"The flipper is working! That is bad news for Supernova, which seems to be having traction problems as well."
— Jonathan Pearce
Spawn Again vs Supernova

Supernova stuck on an angle grinder

Spawn Again came in and flipped it against the angle grinder. Supernova became stuck on the angle grinder, spinning the disc, but could not get down.

"...but they know they have problems, they can't move! They were hugely impressive up until now! What an anti-climax for Supernova!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Refbot knocked them off, and Supernova moved forwards, but then span in a circle and stopped again. Spawn Again pushed it, and Supenova reversed away. Spawn Again got under it and flipped Supernova, and Supernova landed on the disc, which span into Spawn Again. Supernova bounced off, cut into the floor, then landed on its back. Supernova could barely move, and Spawn Again, which wasn't moving much either, nudged it a couple of times. Growler grabbed Supernova in its jaws, and pulled it away from the wall. Supernova was still barely moving, and it twitched onto the floor flipper, so Refbot counted it out.

"And though it seemed unlikely five or six minutes ago, Spawn Again will make be making another series semi-final."
— Jonathan Pearce
Supernova is pitted

Supernova is pitted by Growler

Supernova was flipped by the floor flipper, and Growler grabbed it. Sergeant Bash opened the pit, and Growler dumped the Balendran family's machine into the pit.

"Well, I have to admit, I thought Supernova could have gone to Robot Wars: The Sixth Wars Final! Who knows what glories might have come their way? But that's Robot Wars! ... What might have been, eh?"
— Jonathan Pearce as Supernova is pitted

Despite it being favoured to win, Supernova lost the Heat Final to Spawn Again, and was eliminated at this stage.

"Spawn flipped Supernova, this made it land at an awkward angle which pushed the drive wheel into one of the gears bending a shaft and jamming the drive on that side. We only had drive to one of the wheels from that point and lost. This weakness has been fixed since then!"
— Supernova - Fighting Robot Facebook page

Series 7Edit

"Powerful, fast, thin armour though, could disappear into a black hole!"
— Jonathan Pearce descrbes Supernova
Supernova Mayhem

Supernova rips off one of Mayhem's wheels

In the first round, Supernova was placed up against Rhino, the number 16 seeds Storm 2 and newcomers Mayhem. Supernova started by targeting Mayhem, which was spinning on the spot. Supernova hit Mayhem with the disc, knocking it away, then turned away for another attack. Storm 2 pushed Rhino into the arena wall close by, and Supernova went back to attack Mayhem as Rhino approached it. With one hit, Supernova ripped off one of Mayhem's tires.

"Oh! Torn to shreds, Mayhem, straight away, and one tire ripped clean off..."
— Jonathan Pearce
Storm2pushesSupernovaintoSirK

Storm 2 pushes Supernova into Sir Killalot

Supernova hit Mayhem's back, sending itself spinning away and knocking Mayhem into Storm 2. With only one tire, Mayhem could not get away, and Supernova quickly came back, ripping of the other tire with one hit with the disc. With no tires, Mayhem was immobile. Supernova drove down the arena, towards where Storm 2 was fighting Rhino, and followed Rhino, hitting it on the back but doing no damage. As Rhino lifted up Storm 2, Supernova hit the base with the spinning disc, knocking it aside and allowing Storm 2 to fall off the lifter. Supernova appeared to stop moving, and Storm 2 got behind it, ramming it into Sir Killalot, leaving one of his track tread broken. Supernova bounced into the wall, and was struggling to move forwards. Storm 2 got behind the arena, and rammed it down to the other side of the arena, and into the wall in the CPZ.

Storm 2 Supernova melee

Supernova is slammed into the arena wall by Storm 2

"Now, can the Rhino team survive, oh I don't think Supernova will! Storm 2, gets up a full head of steam, lifts and drives across the arena floor, and very few robots in this Heat, let along this battle, and I think this series of Robot Wars, will survive this machine, Storm 2. Supernova certainly didn't."
— Jonathan Pearce

Supernova bounced off the wall and landed on the wall by it, stuck against it. The disc was still spinning, but this mereley moved Supernova along the wall, not helping it get down. Matilda pushed it off the wall, but Supernova had become immobilised.

"The blade is spinning, but there is no forward momentum, Supernova, from the 1 horsepower, 750 watt motor... "
— Jonathan Pearce as Supernova is counted out

Refbot counted Supernova out, and "Cease" was called.

Supernova also appeared in the Third World Championship representing Sri Lanka. In its qualifier battle, shown as the Special Event for Heat A, Supernova fought Austrian robot Mechaniac.

Mechaniac vs Supernova

Supernova is sent flying after charging at Mechaniac

Supernova started by charging at Mechaniac, but Mechaniac dodged, and Supernova drove straight into Sir Killalot's CPZ. It quickly turned around and drove out, and drove at the side of Mechaniac, grinding against the wedge. It turned onto Mechaniac's front, but this allowed Mechaniac to flip it. On landing, Supernova stuggled to get down on the floor properly, as the forces from the disc were causing it to rock up on one wheel, but soon got down. Mechaniac drove straight into the wall, and span around in the CPZ. Sir Killalot came in and cornered Mechaniac and grabbed it with the claw by the rear spikes, lifting it up and dropping it outside the CPZ. As Sir Killalot dropped Mechaniac, Supernova charged at its opponent, which sent it flying into Cassius Chrome. Supernova got away, and Mechaniac span on the spot. Supernova ripped off Mechaniac's back panel, leaving the batteries exposed.

"...something has come off the back! The rear armament! And now the very guts of Mechanic have been laid bare!"
— Jonathan Pearce
Supernova vs Mechaniac

Supernova, having torn the rear panel off Mechaniac

Supernova drove up Mechaniac's wedge, but reversed off before it could flip, so Mechaniac's flip missed. Supernova hit the side, knocking Mechania towards Sir Killalot. Supernova charged at the side of Mechaniac, but the impact knocked itself into the arena wall. Mechaniac was barely moving, spinning on the spot, and Supernova was struggling to move forwards as well. Supernova held back as Cassius Chrome rammed into Mechaniac, causing its internals to catch fire. Sir Killalot picked it up with his lance, held it over the flames, then place it on the flipper, where Mechaniac was counted out, before being thrown across the arena. Sir Killalot then picked Mechaniac up with its lance again, and pitted it. Supernova was through to the World Championship.

"It was working, it's just the energy involved when we hit something, just so large that we actually damage ourselves slightly, so we'll just sort the problem out, test it a bit more, and I think it'll be ok."
— Suren Balendran explain's Supernova's loss of movement to Craig Charles

In the first round of the World Championship, it met Hard from Belgium, and Spartacus from the USA.

SupernovaHitsSpartacus

Supernova hits Spartacus

HardtriestogetunderSupernova

Hard tries to get under Supernova

Supernova started by driving at the front of Spartacus. However, on impact, Supernova was sent spinning away, with Spartacus only being bumped a little. Supernova quickly recovered, driving over the flame pit to the centre of the arena. As it turned around, Spartacus drove at it, and Supernova hit it with the flywheel, but only caused a dent. It managed a glancing blow on Hard, but Hard quickly got away. It turned and charged at Spartacus, bouncing away after causing a rip in the front corner. It drove back at Spartacus, grinding at the front wedge, but then Hard got under it, and Supernova reversed away before it could flip. Supernova charged at the front of Spartacus, knocking some small pieces off, then rammed into the side, ripping of some armour, leaving the wheel exposed. Spartacus was spinning in a circle, and Supernova hit it side-on, which sent it spinning into the wall. Meanwhile, Hard had stopped moving. Supernova drove around it for another attack at Spartacus, and after driving around it, drove at the front, but slid off the wedge, having driven at the wrong angle. Spartacus was struggling to move forwards, and Supernova slammed into its side again. However, after this, Supernova stopped moving forwards, despite its wheels moving, and the robot turning on the spot.

"Is anyone going to survive this?"
— Jonathan Pearce
AllThreeImmobile

All three machines, unable to move

SupernovaStartsMoving

Supernova survives the count

Hard was counted out by Refbot and Dead Metal attacked it. Supernova was still not moving forwards, and Spartacus was still spinning around.

"Now, this is interesting, Supernova's weaponry is moving, are the tires? Are they still mobile?"
— Jonathan Pearce
Spartacus Derobed

Spartacus is disrobed

Refbot began to count out Supernova, but after two seconds, Supernova moved away. Supernova reversed, but appeared to be stopping and starting as it moved towards Spartacus. It eventually hit the front, causing the top to be loosened. Supernova stopped moving again after this, only moving forwards and back once. Spartacus continued spinning, eventually spinning into Supernova. After hitting Supernova, the disc slowed to a stop. Refbot came in and counted both robots out, but Spartacus was deemed to have been immobile first, and Supernova moved on to the next round.

"It seems like some kind of interference, it just stops and then starts again and stops, we think it's interference in the arena, lighting or something like that, we'll have to fix it now."
— Suren Balendran explains Supernova's loss of mobility to Craig Charles

In Round 2, Supernova was drawn against South African representative Crushtacean.

"It's a tough robot to beat, because there aren't any surfaces that we can really reach, we'll have to go for the ... we'll actually have to drive into the claws, try to whack them, before they can grab us!"
— Suren Balendran on fighting Crushtacean
SupernovaHitsCrushtacean

Supernova hits Crushtacean's wheels

Crushtacean charged straight at Supernova, which waited for it, then when it got close, drove into the wheels, ripping pieces off them. Supernova tried a hit on Crushtacean's underbelly, but the curved shape of Crushtacean meant that the disc did no damage. The initial impact had clearly affected Crushtacean, which seemed unbalanced, and was spinning back and forth. Supernova charged at Crushtacean, but Crushtacean reversed away. However, in doing so, it reversed just outside Shunt's CPZ, which missed with its axe. Supernova missed a charge at Crushtacean and drove into an angle grinder. Shunt pushed Crushtacean away from the CPZ, missing another axe blow. Supernova knocked Crushtacean back a little with the disc, then hit one of the claws, sending Crushtacean spinning and breaking the claw. Crushacean span into Shunt's CPZ, and Shunt axed it a couple of times. Crushtacean stopped moving, and it was pushed out of the CPZ by Shunt.

"And you know, I think that first assault by Crushtacean on Supernova did the damage, I think they did themselves in!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Crushtacean was counted out by Refbot, and Sir Killalot put it on the flipper.

"There's a possibility, if they break down or something, if we hit them hard enough."
— Suren Balendran, asked by Craig Charles if he thought he could win the final

In the final, Supernova met Storm 2 again.

"Spin the disc up and hit them with it!"
— Suren Balendran's tactic
SupernovapushedbyStorm2

Storm 2 pushes Supernova

SupernovabouncesoffStorm2

Supernova bounces off Storm 2

Storm 2 charged in, while Supernova drove away to get their disc up to speed. Supernova turned, but Storm 2's front suffered no damage from the disc, and Storm 2 easily got under Supernova and pushed it into the wall. Supernova drove off of Storm 2, turned and drove at Storm 2, but missed its charge. It turned and charged at Storm 2, but Storm 2 was unaffected whilst Supernova was sent spinning away. Supernova tried attacking the front again, but Storm 2 charged at Supernova, so Supernova went over Storm 2's top.

"Storm 2 dodging the circular blade, taking a crash there, dosen't seem to be affected by it..."
— Jonathan Pearce

Storm 2 pushed Supernova to the arena wall, and as Supernova slipped off, the spinning disc hit the wall, sending Supernova spinning away into Refbot. Storm 2 got under one of Supernova's wheel, and the spinning disc pulled Supernova towards the wall, where Supernova became stuck on its top. Despite spinning the disc, Supernova could not get down.

Supernovawc3

Supernova, on its side, against the arena wall

SupernovaFreedByRefbot

Refbot frees Supernova

"Look at that, churning up the arena floor!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Supernova's disc grinds into the surface

Eventually, Supernova stopped spinning the disc. Meanwhile, Storm 2 was driving around Shunt, which pushed against it, then pushed it to an angle grinder and flipped it onto it with the scoop. Refbot knocked Supernova off the wall, and Supernova hit Storm 2 with the disc, then Shunt knocked it off the angle grinder.

"And, I think y'know, Supernova may well have knocked Storm 2 back into the battle, why on earth did they do that!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Storm 2 is finally put back on its wheels
SupernovaLastAttack

Supernova hits the inverted Storm 2 in the last few seconds

Supernova hit Storm 2 with the disc, but caused no damage. Storm 2 charged at Supernova again, but because it was upside down, it only knocked itself upwards. Storm 2 pushed at Supernova, which turned and hit it with the disc, knocking Storm 2 into the wall, but sending itself spinning away. Supernova tried to get away, Storm 2 followed it, but Supernova turned so Storm 2 was knocked into the CPZ, where Cassius Chrome pinned it against the wall.

"I'm being told, they are going to time, from a replay, how long Supernova was on its side and immobile. And I'm being told, they think the Refbot should have stopped it, and that Supernova should have been counted out before they were mobile at the end!"
— Jonathan Pearce, reviewing the highlights

Cease was called and the judges had to make a decision. However, after watching the replay, they decided that Supernova had been immobilised on the arena wall for much longer than the 30 seconds allowed, and thus the fight should have ended. As a result, Storm 2 was given the victory.

Craig Charles: "You've got to be gutted!"
Suren Balendran: "Yeah, yeah, we are. Well, we were immobilised, but then, so were they for a bit, as well."
— Post-battle interview.

Behind the scenes, the battle actually had a different conclusion, which was not shown on television. After Supernova got stuck against the wall, Refbot came in to count it out, but his counter was not working at all, a problem which was not communicated to anyone but the producers. Left to make their own conclusions, the house roboteers inferred that Storm 2 had won, and allowed Shunt to stack Storm 2 against an angle grinder for fun. Team Storm obliged, as they also believed they had won the battle. However, unbeknown to the house roboteers or the competitors, the producers had ruled that because Supernova was never counted out, it wasn't officially considered immobilised, and ordered Supernova to be freed from the wall in the hope of giving the battle a more exciting conclusion. However, Storm 2 was still left inverted and beached on the angle grinder, and sustained damage from Supernova once it was freed. Although the televised version of the battle went to a judges' decision, Supernova actually managed to immobilise Storm 2, but the judges ruled that Supernova should have been counted out in the first place, awarding Storm 2 the victory and the Third World Championship. Needless to say, both teams were disappointed that the full version of the fight was not shown.

"What was not shown in the coverage was that, 2 of the 3 titanium panels at the front of Storm had been torn away. We had some good hits on Storm, eventually immobilizing them. The judges decided the Storm had won the fight when we were propped against the wall and so gave the fight to them. The fight was a good one, wish they had showed more of us hitting Storm when they were upside down. Think it was a dodgy decision, think the judges owed Storm from a certain previous fight…"
— Suren Balendran, captain of Supernova, on the FRA forum

Series 8Edit

Team trinity 2016

Team Supernova with their robot in 2016

Supernova competed in Heat 3, battling Big Nipper, Or Te and TR2. Before the battle, Supernova experienced technical difficulties in the form of a complete electrical failure, and the team needed to stay up overnight to repair it, borrowing a speed controller from Team Danby, which was fixed by Alan Young, and the robot was completely rewired to run on two circuits, powering both the weapon and the drive.[9] This meant that Supernova entered its qualifier untested, and the team did not know if the robot would function.

"Untested? This is like taking a driving test at the Monaco Grand Prix!"
— Jonathan Pearce on Supernova's lack of testing
Or Te KO

Supernova immobilises Or Te

Big Nipper vs Supernova

The spinners collide

The dangerous flywheel of Supernova posed an immediate threat to Or Te, which slammed into Supernova in an effort to stop its weapon from spinning. However, Supernova quickly gained its revenge, as the flywheel's first contact sent Or Te spinning away, knocking out its safety link. Although Supernova had immobilised Or Te, it also lost one of the teeth on its flywheel in the process.[10] Supernova and Big Nipper clashed with their respective spinners, and Supernova proved more powerful, knocking Big Nipper away, but TR2 pushed Supernova into the arena wall, removing its second and final flywheel tooth. This meant Supernova could no longer cause damage with its disc, and it was pushed into the pit release by TR2. After clashing disc-to-disc with Big Nipper again, TR2, unable to use its flipper, shunted Supernova to the edge of the pit, where Supernova narrowly escaped by driving on its side using its wheel and flywheel in tandem.

"Well how difficult is it to control these machines I wonder, very difficult if you've got a gyroscopic effect created by a 2,500rpm spinning disc!"
— Jonathan Pearce
Supernova near pit

Supernova skirts away from the pit...

Supernova pitted

...but its flywheel drives it in

Supernova struggled to regain its balance, lost a decorative piece of its wheel, and after its direction was changed by TR2, Supernova used the momentum of its toothless flywheel to carry itself into the pit. This eliminated Supernova from the competition.

"TR2's wedge tilted Supernova and the disc which had no teeth turned into a big wheel and pulled us forward into the pit"
— Team Supernova after the battle[11]

Series 9Edit

"The first series of Robot Wars, Supernova was eliminated basically down to my poor driving, so Supernova, this time around, is different, in that its got a new, much stronger steel body and its got a much more powerful weapon. Also known as "the disc of doom", so hard, it'll cut through other robots like a knife through butter. ... Our combat strategy with Supernova, it's such a powerful weapon, is to go in and just tear them up! This year, this is our chance, I'm going all out!"
— Suren Balendran's introduction, shown before Round 2

Supernova competed in Heat 4, where it faced two newcomers in Frostbite and HIGH-5, and the new machine from the Memento Mori team, Wyrm.

"Our first battle pits three brand new robots and seasoned spinner Supernova - all competing for two available places in the Head-to-Heads."
— Dara Ó Briain
Supernova vs Frostbite vs HIGH-5

Supernova tears into Frostbite as HIGH-5 (right) sits immobile

Supernova initially sat still as it waited to get its weapon up to speed while the other robots engaged with one another. Supernova then darted over towards Frostbite and connected with an attack which shattered its left-hand panel as well as damaging a wheel - although it was still able to move outside of its own circumference.

"Oh! Goodness me, Supernova with an astonishing attack on Frosbite! Full frontal, using the blade, and ripping, shredding, the six millimetre polycarbonate armour of Frostbite!"
— Jonathan Pearce
Supernova vs HIGH-5

Supernova slices into the rear of HIGH-5

Supernova then went for HIGH-5, but seemed to have control issues, moving towards its opponents, but then reversing, then driving back and forth. Eventually, it drove into the rear of the immobile HIGH-5, ripping a piece off, and with Wyrm having knocked itself out with a drive into the arena wall, Supernova was left as the only fully mobile machine. Supernova moved between its opponents in the last few seconds, but did not attack any of them. HIGH-5 and Wyrm were counted out, and although Frostbite was severely damaged, it was mobile enough to warrant a place in the Head-to-Heads with Supernova.

Dara Ó Briain: "This thing - this monster you've created! The hum on it!"
Suren Balendran: "Oh, it's definitely fearsome!"
— Post-battle thoughts after an impressive opening display from Supernova

In its first Head-to-Head battle, Supernova faced Frostbite once again, and despite Supernova's impressive showing in the first battle involving the two, Suren Balendran was cautious beforehand.

"Their robot's armoured with plastic, so, in theory we should be okay - but you should never underestimate your opponent."
— Suren Balendran

For this battle, the Frostbite team added a thicker 12mm polycarbonate panel to its back in an attempt to protect its internals from Supernova’s disc.

Frostbite vs Supernova

Supernova tears part of Frostbite's weapon off

Supernova initially spun around before reversing towards the Arena Tyre as its weapon got up to speed. After Frostbite was thrown up by the Floor Flipper, Supernova followed it around the arena, ready to make its attack. Suddenly, the two spinning weapons collided, with Supernova tearing off one of the blades and LED clusters of Frostbite's bar.

"...whirling up the disc of doom, getting it up to full speed, at two-and-a-half thousand RPM, shards of metal across the arena floor!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Supernova then came in with another attack which ripped away a large part of Frostbite's left panel and disabled one of its tyres. With Frostbite only able to spin around on the spot, Supernova attacked again, and a devastating blow sent splinters of armour flying and completely removed Frostbite's spinning bar.

Supernova vs Frostbite

Supernova completely shatters Frostbite

"Supernova, Look at the power of the weaponry! Once, twice, smithereens!"
— Jonathan Pearce

As Frostbite was being counted out, Supernova's weapon chain came loose - although it caused no initial trouble as Supernova was able to come in with one final attack which ripped away Frostbite's rear armour.

"Look at the chain there! Getting meshed up with the spinning blade, will that cause problems later on?"
— Jonathan Pearce

The count was then complete on Frostbite, and Supernova won its first Head-to-Head battle, picking up 3 points. However, Team Supernova discovered that part of Supernova's disc chain was stuck inside the robot, and had come close to setting its batteries on fire.

Supernova weapon chain

Suren Balendran inspects the damaged chain

"Oh, look - I can see a piece of the chain here, actually. Wow, the chain's just exploded. ... These batteries - they'll explode if they get hit, so that would've been a disaster, so we're very lucky."
— Suren Balendran expresses his relief that the weapon's chain caused no further internal damage

Supernova's next battle was against Pulsar, with the team using their repair time to work on ensuring their weapon chain caused no further issues.

"There's a sprocket that's attached to it, and basically in the last fight it was damaged, basically it vibrates up and down by a couple of millimetres, at low speeds that's fine, but at 3000 RPM, that potentially could throw the chain, or it could completely obliterate the sprocket!"
— Suren Balendran

The team were able to repair the chain in time for the battle.

"Supernova: spin to win, or spin yourselves into the bin?"
— Jonathan Pearce as Supernova gets up to speed
Supernova Pulsar 1

Supernova is sent careering off as the two machines meet head on

Supernova turned away from Pulsar as its weapon spun up to speed, before turning to face its opponent. Both machines charged towards each other, with the resulting contact sending Supernova hurtling into the arena wall and rendered both competitors' weapons immobile.

"What a slam, bam, thank you, Mam that was!"
— Jonathan Pearce
Supernova Pulsar

Pulsar celebrates with its self-righting arm as Supernova is counted out

Supernova edged its way backwards and forwards, but eventually ground to a halt as Pulsar came in and rammed Supernova, pinning it against the wall.

"It's a little kiss and caress now, a bit of a nudge around the arena. ... I can't see any life whatsoever in Supernova."
— Jonathan Pearce

Unable to move, Supernova was counted out, and its second Head-to-Head battle ended in defeat.

After the battle, Team Supernova inspected their robot for what exactly caused the robot to stop moving, with the chain coming loose and leading to further internal trouble being labelled as the main reason.

"It looks like what's happened it that, we hammered it flat but it wasn't good enough, so that's thrown the chain off, and the chain's then pulled the motor, which drive the weapon, out of its mounting point, and it's just jammed everything up!"
— Suren Balendran explains the damage

In the lead up to must-win Head-to-Head against Ironside3, numerous repairs were necessary, but Supernova was ready in time for the battle, and Suren Balendran was aware of the reach of their opponents weapon.

Suren Balendran: "Their spinner's actually slightly higher than ours, but then it's slightly bigger. So, it's like a boxer with a longer arm - so they can us before we can hit them."
Angela Scanlon: "But sometimes the little guy gets it."
Suren Balendran: "Sometimes!"
— Pre-battle talk before Supernova's final Head-to-Head
Supernova Ironside3

Supernova suffers damage from Ironside3's first hit

At the start of the battle, Supernova once again turned its rear-end towards the opponent before its weapon was up to speed. Supernova then chased Ironside3 but attacked its opponent at the wrong angle and suffered a hit as a result. Sparks flew as Ironside3 spun onto the closed pit panel, and Supernova recoiled towards the centre of the arena. Supernova struggled to move away as Ironside3 hit it twice more in rapid succession, the attacks damaging its left-hand wheel and hampering its mobility.

"You've lost a wheel."
— Thuvaaragen Balendran notices Supernova's problems as a result of the first hit

Another couple of hits from Ironside3 caused more sparks to fly and Supernova's wheel to lock up completely, with Supernova driving in circles over the arena spikes before suddenly stopping completely.

"Supernova, about to descend into a deep black hole, I think."
— Jonathan Pearce
Sir Killalot Supernova

Supernova is roasted by Sir Killalot

Ironside3 hit Supernova's side again, sending sparks and shards of metal flying, before Shunt came out of his CPZ to axe Supernova, the latter's disc hitting his scoop and sending yet more sparks flying. Ironside3 slammed into Supernova one more time before it was fully counted out, while Sir Killalot ended the battle by holding Supernova over the Flame Pit.

"So, it's a war, this time we might've lost, but next time, we'll be back stronger, to do more damage."
— Suren Balendran

This defeat left Supernova with 3 points at the end of the Head-to-Head stage, which saw it finish third, eliminating it from the competition.

ResultsEdit

SUPERNOVA - RESULTS
Series 5
The Fifth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat H, Eliminator vs. Behemoth (15) Lost
Series 6
The Sixth Wars - UK Championship
Heat Final
Heat H, Round 1 vs. Short Circuit, Spawn Again (10), Tiberius 3 Qualified
Heat H, Round 2 vs. Ming 3 Won
Heat H, Final vs. Spawn Again (10) Lost
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat I, Round 1 vs. Mayhem, Rhino, Storm 2 (16) Eliminated
The Third World Championship
Representing Sri Lanka, Runner-Up
Qualifier vs. Mechaniac (AUT) Won
Heat vs. Hard (BEL), Spartacus (USA) Won
Semi-Final vs. Crushtacean (RSA) Won
Final vs. Storm 2 (UK) Lost
Series 8
Series 8 - UK Championship
Round 1
Heat 3, Group Battle vs. Big Nipper, Or Te, TR2 Eliminated
Series 9
Series 9 - UK Championship
Round 2, Third Place
Heat 4, Group Battle vs. Frostbite, HIGH-5, Wyrm Qualified
Heat 4, Head-to-Head vs. Frostbite Won via KO (3 points)
Heat 4, Head-to-Head vs. Pulsar Lost (0 points)
Heat 4, Head-to-Head vs. Ironside3 Lost (0 points)

Wins/LossesEdit

  • Wins: 7
  • Losses: 7

Series RecordEdit

  • Supernova being built
  • Team Supernova at the Fifth Wars qualifiers
  • Supernova in the pits during Series 7
  • Supernova without its top in Series 7.
  • The insides of the Series 8 Supernova
Series Supernova Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Entered with Oblivion
The Third Wars Pinball only with Oblivion 2
The Fourth Wars Entered with Oblivion 2
The Fifth Wars Heat, Round 1
The Sixth Wars Heat Final
The Seventh Wars Heat, Round 1
Series 8 Heat, Round 1
Series 9 Heat Round 2, Third Place
Series 10 Did not enter

TriviaEdit

Sirktracks

The damage caused to Sir Killalot by Storm 2 and Supernova's combined attack

  • In addition to Supernova's participation in The Third World Championship, Supernova was also invited to compete in the All-Stars competition in Series 7. However, the team had to decline due to a scheduling clash with university exams[12].
    • This was not the first time Team Supernova had declined a place in a competition - Supernova was invited to compete in the second series of Robot Wars Extreme, but exams prevented the team from attending[13].
  • In its first two appearances in the main competition, Supernova fought in Heat H, and went up against a seeded machine in the first round.
  • Supernova was one of four robots to come back to life whilst being counted out by the Refbot.
  • During its first-round melee in Series 7, Supernova cut a hole in the arena wall that was never repaired.
  • Storm 2's combined attack with Supernova on Sir Killalot led to the most expensive repairs for a House Robot ever.
  • Through representing Sri Lanka in the Third World Championship, Supernova became the only robot to represent an Asian country in an international competition.

HonoursEdit


ReferencesEdit

  1. Team Supernova website (archived), Specification
  2. Team Supernova website (archived), Diary
  3. Team Supernova website (archived), Sponsors
  4. Team Supernova website (archived), Specification
  5. Supernova (Series 8) on the Robot Wars website
  6. Supernova (Series 9) on the Robot Wars website
  7. Team Supernova website (archived), Diary
  8. Post on Supernova - Fighting Robot Facebook page
  9. Post on the Supernova Facebook page
  10. Post on the Supernova Facebook page
  11. Post on the Supernova Facebook page
  12. Private correspondence with Toon Ganondorf and the Supernova Facebook page
  13. https://www.facebook.com/supernovarobotwars/posts/916283805171482?comment_id=916358455164017&notif_t=feed_comment&notif_id=1477605944067868

External LinksEdit