The Robot Report talks to the builder behind Bugglebots winner K2 – Mark Leigh
As someone reasonably new to the beetle scene, how did you find Bugglebots?
“It was slightly nerve-wracking, but I think that was more so because it was a very different event to most beetle events; there was a live audience, plus it was being filmed for YouTube. I wasn’t nervous from the robot point of view, as I’ve been working on K2 and improving it over the last year or so and I felt happy that what I was bringing was competitive. I was more worried about how I was going to come across on camera to be honest, or being subtitled badly! Although I have to admit the YouTube subtitles were very entertaining when it came to the shows’ name!”
How well did you think you would do in the competition?
“Hard to say, I guess. The playing field was so diverse at Bugglebots and there were some new bots that I had never fought before, so I couldn’t really gauge it. I didn’t expect to win for sure, but hoped I’d reach the heat final at least, or maybe into the opening rounds of the Final. “
What was your favourite fight?
“Oh goodness there’s so many… I don’t think I can pick one! My fight with Saw Loser was a particular highlight as it lasted the full three minutes, so from a personal perspective that was a great as I’ve never had a fight go the full three minutes before. I’d seen what Saw Loser could do by the time I fought it so I was pretty nervous going into that fight! To win it was a bonus!
But the one I feel the most proud of was the losers melee with Rev 2 and SCD. I took a hit really early which flexed the chassis into the weapon, which then bounded up… Fortunately it was an easy fix with a Stanley knife, but you can’t do that mid-battle, so I was weapon-less from quite early on. To be honest I did think I was done for at that point, being up against two spinners. But K2 is a good all-rounder bot. It hits hard but it’s not the most hard-hitting spinner out there, and it’s got a good drive system so it’s effective as a pusher if the weapon fails. So to win that fight whilst weapon-less, for me, was probably my proudest achievement of the series. “
Which robot(s) were you nervous about fighting?
“Probably either Sir-Lance-a-Frog or Anxt. Sir Lance-a-Frog is very well driven by Nicholas. I’ve fought against him before and if he doesn’t pit himself, he’s not gonna mess about and is a real challenge. K2’s lid is pretty thin and has lots of holes that Anxt could get into.. One of which was above the battery! Anxt’s power is mad so I was genuinely a bit worried for my battery and was very conscious of having thin armour. I wasn’t nervous about Saw Loser….until I saw it. “
How do you feel about winning the inaugural season of Bugglebots?
“I didn’t expect it, but it was great! The post-match interview after beating Limpet was probably the hardest one for me as I felt like maybe I should say something inspiring or give a shout out to the community spirit, but I was blown away by winning and was more focused on not sounding silly on camera. I will say though, the community spirit at Bugglebots was fantastic! I think the people who were new to the sport or new to the weight class certainly appreciated it as your first event can be quite intimidating at the best of times, let alone when there are cameras involved. I think it felt great to win not only as a personal achievement as it’s the first event I’ve won, but I felt proud to win such a community-spirited event too. “
What did your family think of you winning Bugglebots?
“I don’t think the kids were as excited as I was! I have two daughters, and they’re getting into robots a bit themselves and have been nagging me for their own. One wants a kitty robot and the other wants a unicorn, so I think they’re more concerned about that right now! When I said “C’mon Dad’s been on the telly!” they replied “Dad, you were on YouTube…” Because kids are brutally honest like that! My wife just gives me a look… You know, like “you’re a grown man!” But I’m a grown man who won, so I’ll take that. Although she hasn’t let me put the trophy next to our wedding photo, but I’m working on that..