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The Hassocks Hog

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"Oh, don’t make a pig’s ear of this! Go on, hog the headlines!"
— Jonathan Pearce introduces The Hassocks Hog in Series 6

The Hassocks Hog was a competitor from West Sussex that fought in Series 6 and Series 7 of Robot Wars. Two different versions entered, but both were wedge-shaped with lifting weaponry, and both lost their only battles.

Noel Poncelet was convinced to build the machine by his three sons, Jonathan, Robert and Daniel, who were all huge fans of Robot Wars, with encouragement from his wife Jude.[1]

"I had thought for some time about building a robot because all three of my children really loved watching the carnage each Friday night. My wife Jude had also suggested several times that I should have a go, but I wasn't too sure how or where to start. But always wanting a challenge I "bit the bullet" and joined the Robot Wars club in February 2000. For the first six months I bounced ideas of various people, including my father, brothers, and friends. I was hoping my brothers would take on some of the design work, but since we lived in different parts of England, it was not easy to get things moving very fast. In the end I decided to do the majority of design work myself, and bring other people in as-and-when required later on."
— Noel Poncelot on The Hassocks Hog website[2]

Versions of Hassocks HogEdit

The Hassocks HogEdit

Hassocks hog

The Hassocks Hog

Hog rear side view 1

The rear of The Hassocks Hog. Note the absence of rear armour

The original Hassocks Hog was a large box wedge with a flipper, similar to the Series 6 and 7 versions of Iron-Awe, only taller and featuring a self-righting “tail” on the top instead of an axe. This version had no real efficiency motors and the flipper was low power, acting more as a lifter, but the robot was quite fast, with a top speed of 17mph.

Despite surviving to the end of its first round battle in The Sixth Wars, it was deemed by the judges to have become immobilised, as it was only driving around in circles, having lost drive on one side, and it was therefore eliminated.

Hassocks Hog 2Edit

Hog2 paint job side view

Hassocks Hog 2

Hassocks Hog II

Hassocks Hog 2 in the arena

After this defeat, a new machine, Hassocks Hog 2, styled on the team's banner as Hassocks Hog II, was built, designed to address the flaws of the original machine. The second version was more compact, fully enclosed in armour, and featured efficiency motors and a much more powerful, 16 bar pneumatic flipper.

"We’ve come back this year with a much improved flipper. We had a limp lifter last year, now we’ve got some serious pneumatics. So we’re hoping to flip a few, rather than just tip them.”"
— Noel Poncelet, introducing the new and improved Hog in Series 7

The improvements did not help the new machine do any better in the competition, as it was flipped over very quickly and failed to self right because its flipper failed to work, meaning it went out in the first round again.

Both machines had large, furry, stabilising ears, and the team wore hats with furry ears that matched the ears on their hats.

Noel Poncelet: "We also have the furry ears to stabilise it as well, they're functional as well as being ... a target!"
Jayne Middlemiss: "Is the furriness though, not a bit of a fire hazard?"
Noel Poncelet: "Yes, I have to say, its going to look good when they catch fire. We’re not looking forward to seeing Sgt Bash in there!"
— Noel and Jayne discuss the Hog’s furry ears in Series 7
Hog2 paint job underpants

The pants painted on the bottom of Hassocks Hog 2

Both machines had spotted underpants painted on the bottom of the robot. These were shown in a post-battle interview in Series 6, and were shown to the audience as Mr. Psycho picked up the robot after defeat in Series 7.

QualificationEdit

The team originally planned to enter Series 5, but were not ready in time for the Qualifiers. [3]

"I finally got around to filling in the official Robot Wars entry form today. I filled in all the sections but wrote across the front page "May not be ready for series 5, but please include in for the following series". This was the advice of one of the Robot Wars ladies who I spoke to on the phone. She suggested writing this on the front so that they would keep me informed of any rule changes or events taking place in the future."
— Noel Poncelot in 2001

At the Series 6 qualifiers, The Hassocks Hog fought Ming 3, Revolution 2 and Immortalis. It won the battle, therefore gaining an automatic spot in Series 6. Ming 3 and Revolution 2 recieved discretionary places to qualify. [4]

"As the voice called "three, two, one, activate," everyone went for Ming. We had a few collisions before one of the others managed to whip Ming's safety link out leaving him completely immobilised. ... "Immortalis" quickly became stationary next to Ming, and it was then up to "Revolution" and me to battle it out. My flipper was a bit sluggish by now, possibly because the pneumatics were getting cold with all the flipping we were trying to do. It still operated, but only lifted the others rather than flipping them. It was interesting to then listen to us both talking to each other in the booth as we battled to the end. We would bump into each other and then say "oops, sorry about that", but the battle had to go on. "Revolution" managed to get a few good hits on us, but had severely buckled its spinning blades in the process. We still bashed into each other a bit before after one collision he half climbed on top of me, getting hooked on our tail. We dragged him about a bit, while Jonathan tried to shake him of by operating the tail. I eventually backed into the arena side wall which loosened him enough for the tail to finally push him off and back onto the arena floor. It was this final manoeuvre that gave us some extra "control" points. When they called "cease" we were the only two robots still mobile, and it wasn't until we descended from the booth did we know we had won. The kids were jubilant, and so was I. We had suffered a few holes in our cladding, but the chassis had held up well and saved us from any serious damage."
— Noel Poncelot on The Hassocks Hog website
Series 7 qualifiers damage 1

Damage by Disco Inferno during the series 7 qualifier.

Hassocks Hog 2 fought Disc-O-Inferno, Hannibal and Sabretooth at the Series 7 qualifiers. It lost the battle, after receiving a large gash down the right-hand side and damage to the right drivetrain from the disc of Disc-O-Inferno, but received a discretionary place to qualify. [5]

"As the fog horn sounded, I went for the safe option of attacking Hannibal, the flipper based robot. Disco Inferno went for Saber (sic) Tooth and immobilised it quite quickly by ripping off a side panel, and with it, its safety link. I felt it was now safe to go in and flip Saber Tooth in the air a few times, as did Hannibal. However, Hannibal's flipper jammed, and was unable to do any more flipping. I felt I had shown my flipper was able to do something, so gingerly wandered around the rest of the arena, trying desperately to keep out of the way of Disco Inferno's disk. I managed it for a while but then they went for me and all of a sudden the Hog was shot across the arena with a front panel flying into the air. The front was now exposed, and I could see the chassis was quite badly torn and bent. I also noticed that right hand drive was not working, and presumed the sudden jolt had caused the chain to jump off. I could only go in circles now, and it was obvious that Disco Inferno was the clear winner as the fog horn signaled the end of the battle. The Hog was unceremoniously shoved out of the arena by the house robots, so that I could then see the full extent of the damage. The producers came over and said that they would like me to take part in the main event provided I thought I could repair the robot. From the damage I could see, I felt it was possible and said "yes" I would be back on Tuesday. They told me I would be meeting Dantomkia, Rick, and King B 2 in the next round, which was an excellent draw because none of them had high energy spinners. All I had to do now was get the robot home and repair the damage within the next three days!"
— Noel Poncelot on The Hassocks Hog website

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 6Edit

Philippa Forrester: "What’s this I hear about The Hassocks Hog having a thing for Matilda?"
Noel Poncelet: "It’s got this little affection; they look very similar, from the same stable so to speak; they’ve got tusks, snouty nose and they’ve got ears!"
— Noel and Philippa discuss the Hog’s love for Matilda

In Heat H of the Sixth Wars, The Hassocks Hog was drawn up against the experienced Ming 3 machine, along with Team Panda's Hot Pants, and Spam.

"In the booth with us was the Spam team. As we were waiting to start the battle I said to them, how about we go for the others before we go for each other. He agreed, so I said I would go for Ming while he went for Hot Pants."
— Noel Poncelet
Ming 3 vs Hot Pants

Hot Pants being attacked by Ming and The Hassocks Hog

The Hassocks Hog had already fought Ming 3 in its qualifier battle for the Sixth Wars, so it went straight for Andrew Cotterell's machine. Ming 3 tried to skewer The Hassocks Hog with its crusher, but The Hassocks Hog ultimately escaped without much damage. Shortly after, a ramming attack from Spam impeded the The Hassocks Hog's movement. The end of the motor support plate had been bent by the attack and the chain ultimately jumped off the sprocket. The left wheel seemed to freewheel and The Hassocks Hog was reduced to moving in circles.

Bent motor support

The internal damage that cost them the fight: the drive chain knocked from its sprocket

Despite being impeded, The Hassocks Hog survived to the end of the battle, whilst Hot Pants and Spam were both pitted. However, the judges intervened and deemed that The Hassocks Hog's reduced mobility meant it was actually immobile for beyond the allowed time. As such, The Hassocks Hog was eliminated with Hot Pants, and Spam survived to go through to round 2.

"A slight touch of controversy, which we always have on Robot Wars. Our judges, who are infinitely wise, have decided that The Hassocks Hog was going round in circles, so basically it was immobilised, and that was before Spam was thrown into the pits. Now, Hot Pants was in that leftover heat and were thrown out of the kitchen, but our judges in their infinite wisdom reckon that Ming 3 and Spam go through!"
— Craig Charles explains the judge’s decision
ShowHogPants

Noel Poncelot shows Philippa the Hog's pants

HogPants6

The Hog's "pants" in Series 6

In the post-battle interview, Noel showed off The Hassocks Hog's pants to Philippa Forrester.

Philippa Forrester: "There’s something we didn’t get to see! Let’s take a look underneath this robot ... [Noel lifts up the robot] We didn’t get to see ... the pants! [Laughs] Thank you!"
Jonathan Pearce: "I’m not sure if we really wanted to see that!"
— Philippa Forrester, as Noel shows off the Hog’s pants

Series 7Edit

"Sly and spry from the sty, to poke one in the eye!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Hassocks Hog 2 enters the arena

In the first round of the Seventh Wars, Hassocks Hog 2 faced a tough draw against Dantomkia, King B Powerworks and Rick, all of whom had either reached a semi-final or won a side tournament in the past.

Hassocks Hog burns

Hassocks Hog 2 burns after being flipped

Shortly after the battle began, Dantomkia flipped Hassocks Hog 2 over and pushed it onto the flame pit. Hassocks Hog 2 attempted to self-right, but the flipper failed to function and the ears began to burn.

"About ten seconds into the battle I was in a good position to flip Rick, but Jonathan hadn't operated the flipper. I thought nothing of it, as Damtomkia swiftly slid next to us and flipped us over onto our back. I asked Jonathan to flip us back, but he said he was trying. It was then that I realised that something major had gone wrong. Jonathan too realised that we had lost complete control of the Hog and I could see his eyes starting to fill up..."
— Noel Poncelet
Mr. psycho drops out Hassocks hog 2

Mr. Psycho drops Hassocks Hog 2 out of the arena

With Hassocks Hog 2 immobile, Refbot counted it out. Mr. Psycho grappled it and tried to hammer it before dragging it around the arena. Mr. Psycho dropped it on the Drop Zone, only for the hog to gain a little bit of life, spinning away from the Drop Zone, helped by Dantomkia and King B Powerworks pushing it. Mr. Psycho picked it up again, spinning it around so the audience could see the pants, before dropping it out of the arena, just before the battle went to a judges' decision for the other three machines.

Burnt hog on pit table

Hassocks Hog 2 in the pits after the fight

"It didn't last the whole hog, did it? ... Back to the sty, young Hassocks Hog!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Hassocks Hog 2 was counted out and dropped out of the arena

In the pits, it was discovered the flipper had failed to work because the CO2 bottle had leaked onto the regulator, which caused it to freeze.

ResultsEdit

THE HASSOCKS HOG - RESULTS
Series 6
The Sixth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat H, Round 1 vs. Hot Pants, Ming 3, Spam Eliminated
HASSOCKS HOG 2 - RESULTS
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat C, Round 1 vs. Dantomkia (5), King B Powerworks, Rick Eliminated
Hog 1 and team 2002

The team with the original Hassocks Hog

Wins/LossesEdit

  • Wins: 0
  • Losses: 2

Series RecordEdit

Series The Hassocks Hog 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 Heat, Round 1
The Seventh Wars Heat, Round 1
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter

TriviaEdit

  • The initial sketch for The Hassocks Hog, armed with a biting mouth and tusks
  • A paper model, used to design the original Hassocks Hog
  • Hassocks Hog 2 flips the original Hassocks Hog during testing
  • Hassocks Hog 2 before being painted
  • The chassis of Hassocks Hog 2, having been repaired following its Series 7 qualifier
  • The Team Logo from Series 7, drawn by Rob Englebright of Killer Carrot
  • The internals of Hassocks Hog 2, at Brighton ModelWorld 2004
  • The initial concept drawing of The Hassocks Hog had a biting mouth and sharp tusks.
  • Similar to Killerkat and Hellbent, Noel claimed that The Hassocks Hog was in love with Matilda, due to their similar design, but unfortunately neither of their battles featured Matilda as a House Robot.
  • The Hassocks Hog team were good friends with the Killer Carrot team, another group of Roboteers from West Sussex. Noel Poncelot designed a spreadsheet to calculate flipper heights for them whilst they team were building the new Killer Carrot machine for the Seventh Wars, whilst the Dangerous Vegetable team painted them a team logo in exchange for some spare parts.
  • In their Series 6 battle, The Hassocks Hog team was the only team that had never appeared on the show before, and in their Series 7 battle, all three of their opponents had reached a Semi-Final, won a trophy, or both.
  • Noel Poncelot's father was French, and before Series 7, he was offered the possibility of representing France, but nothing came of this idea. If Hassocks Hog had represented France, it would have been the only robot ever to do so.
"I had a phone call from Robot Wars asking if I was going to enter this years event. They also asked a few questions about me to see if there were any angles they could use on the next series. The fact that my father was French seemed to appeal to them because I could be involved in a European type of event as well as a UK one."
— Noel Poncelot before Series 7
  • Noel Poncelot went on record saying his greatest fear in Robot Wars was high powered spinners, and was drawn against two of them in the Series 7 qualifier (Disc-O-Inferno and Sabretooth).
  • Robert and Jonathan Poncelet were so upset after losing in Round 1 of the Seventh Wars, Jayne Middlemiss took pity on them, tried to cheer them up and gave them a post battle interview, which no other losing Round 1 team had in The Seventh Wars (barring Terrorhurtz), but the interview was not shown on TV.

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  4. [4]
  5. [5]

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