Robot Wars Wiki

"...loosely based on a ladybird. Nice and light, nice and agile, nice and fast!"
— Michael Langdon describes Bugs

Bugs was a featherweight robot which competed in Series 1 of Robot Wars. It was created as part of a GCSE school project, and reached the Arena stage in its only appearance, losing to eventual Grand Finalist Cunning Plan after suffering from control problems for much of its heat.


"A GCSE school project, the front of Bugs is fashioned as an aluminium ramming wedge, and at 40 centimetres, Bugs is the tallest robot in our starting lineup."
Jonathan Pearce introducing Bugs

The shell of Bugs

Bugs was a compact featherweight robot with a circular body and painted red with black spots to resemble a ladybird. Its chassis and armour consisted of a plywood base with the top of an old vacuum cleaner as armour, while the robot also featured a front ramming wedge and a 12V motor as its main power source. Despite showing good speed and agility, and having a zero-degree turning circle, Bugs suffered from numerous control issues throughout its heat, which resulted in the team having to cut down its front wedge to improve its manoeuvrability. These issues were further aggravated by a faulty castor fitted to it before its battle against Cunning Plan, which prevented it from driving around in a straight line in that battle. Bugs' underrated speed controllers also proved unreliable, as the relays in both of them overheated during various stages of the competition, leading to their replacement with Futaba ones.

"Bugs consisted of a plywood base with an old vacuum cleaner top as armour, and were one of the teams with underrated speed controllers, which caused problems as both of their cheap relay ones overheated and had to be replaced with Futaba ones at various stages in the competition. At the preview (in October) I was the one who recommended the use of a mixer which they used and gave good manouverability."
— Oliver Steeples of the University of Reading team[1]

The Team[]

Bugs with its team and Philippa Forrester

Bugs was entered was entered as a GCSE project by students from Chesham School. Michael Stacey was the team captain and drove the robot, fellow student Stephen Devereau was the technician, and Michael Langdon, teacher to the other two members, was the chief mechanic.


Bugs attended the Series 1 auditions with fellow Series 1 robots four weeks before filming.

Bugs also attended the Series 2 rehearsals, and may have been attempting to enter the featherweight competition. It failed to qualify for the series.[2]

Robot History[]

Series 1[]

"...and for me, driver Michael Stacey, technician Steven and teacher, chief mechanic Michael Langdon have built one of the most attractive robots in Robot Wars."
— Jonathan Pearce at the start of Bugs' Gauntlet run

Bugs after its run-in with Matilda

Bugs competed in Heat D, and began its Gauntlet run slowly, taking a while to choose a route before deciding to drive through the right-hand route. It dodged Sergeant Bash and made a clear run until it collided with Matilda, and appeared to be suffering control problems after getting stuck against a spiked pyramid and being swiped by Matilda's tusks. Bugs recovered, but could not get past Matilda, and its run ended after covering 11.45m.

Jeremy Clarkson: "Well I reckon Sergeant Bash had a hangover, don't you reckon?"
Michael Stacey: "Oh well, we just couldn't get through!"
Jeremy Clarkson: "You made every effort, for which you should be heartily congratulated."
— Post-Gauntlet interview

This left Bugs last on the leaderboard, but Vector of Armageddon only managed 8.55m, so Bugs had done enough for Bugs to qualify for the Stock Car trial.

Bugs follows Krayzee Tokyo past the first corner pile-up

Bugs passes The Demolisher, after it flipped itself over

There, it started slowly as it avoided the first corner pile-up involving SAT'arn, Cunning Plan and The Demolisher, and was up to second behind Krayzee Tokyo, which had jumped the start due to radio interference. Bugs briefly took the lead as Krayzee Tokyo hit the inside wall, but hit the wall itself and was passed by the others before turning round and carrying on. Bugs struggled to complete its first lap, hitting the walls numerous times and being lapped twice by The Demolisher in the process, although The Demolisher would then turn itself over and make no further progress. Bugs kept hitting the walls and appeared to be losing mobility, before eventually crossing the finish line after being pushed over it by SAT'arn. Having completed one lap, and with Krayzee Tokyo failing to complete any after breaking down, Bugs qualified for the Arena stage.

There, Bugs faced Cunning Plan in its Semi-Final.

Cunning Plan gets underneath Bugs

Bugs lies stuck on the grille

It immediately ran into problems as the team changed its castor before the battle, which was faulty and caused the robot to spend the early part of the battle spinning in circles. Both robots eventually met in the middle of the arena, where Cunning Plan got underneath Bugs and lifted it, slamming straight into the side bars before backing out. Bugs kept spinning around in circles and eventually drove itself onto a grille, where it became completely immobilised.

"You don't want to get on that grille - oh no, you won't get out from there! You will not get out from there, Bugs!"
Jonathan Pearce watches as Bugs spins to its demise

Dead Metal promptly came in to attack Bugs, knocking it across the grille with his pincers and rear spike, before 'cease' was called. After this, Bugs was eliminated from the First Wars.

"I feel a bit guilty really especially since they supplied me with a copy of their photos."
— Oliver Steeples reflects on Cunning Plan's victory over Bugs[3]


Series 1
The First Wars - UK Championship
Heat Semi-Final
Heat D, Gauntlet 11.45m (5th) Qualified
Heat D, Trial (Stock Car) 1 lap (4th) Qualified
Heat D, Semi-Final vs. Cunning Plan Lost


  • Wins: 0
  • Losses: 1

NOTE: Bugs' successful Gauntlet and Trial runs are not included

Series Record[]

The Bugs team

Series Bugs Series Record
The First Wars Heat, Arena Semi-Final
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 Did not enter
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter


  • Bugs drove onto the grille twice in its only appearance; first during the introductions, then in the Semi-Final.