"This Centurion will go Rome-ing the arena floor to Caesar them all!"
— One of many Jonathan Pearce Centurion puns

Centurion was a competitor robot in Series 3 and 4 of Robot Wars. After defeating Excalibur, it broke down against 101 in Round 2 of The Third Wars. It was given a last minute seeding in Series 4, but was defeated in the first round of Series 4 after being ganged up on by Splinter and Small Torque, becoming one of several seeds to fall in Round 1.

After Series 4 of Robot Wars, Centurion was retired. Ray Tait, the captain of the team, joined the Sir Chromalot team and donated many of the electronics from Centurion to the Sir Chromalot machine entered in Series 5 and 6.

Design[edit | edit source]

"They lovingly hand-crafted that axe, which I find a bit scary."
— Philippa Forrester

Series 3 appearance

Centurion was a blocky wedge shaped robot, built from polycarbonate and aluminium armour around a steel chassis. The armour was the same material used to create riot shields. It had two weapons, one at each end of the robot; front lifting forks powered pneumatically by nitrogen, and a hydraulically powered axe custom designed by the team. Internally, the robot was powered by 2 Bosch 750W motors and ran on go-kart wheels. Centurion had a high top speed of 15mph.

Centurion in the arena during Series 4

In Series 4, Centurion remained much the same internally but abandoned the longer lifting forks for shorter prongs on a flipper. The flipper was capable of lifting two feet off the floor and could lift up to 120kg powered by an 80mm cylinder to produce half a tonne of force. The axe was capable of producing 15 tonnes of power. Overall, this version of Centurion was 40cm shorter and slightly lighter than its predecessor. It retained the same engines, wheels and armour.

Centurion also had a pair of high-beam headlights.

The Team[edit | edit source]

The team in Series 3

The team in Series 4

Team Centurion were based in Dagenham, and was captained by Ray Tait, the driver and builder of Centurion. He was consistently joined by his brother Matt Tait, and both were accompanied by David Whorlow in Series 3, and Jeff Bradford in Series 4. Ray Tait's work on Centurion allowed him to learn skills with pneumatics which proved to be critical in his future Robot Wars appearances, competing as part of The Hub Nuts and their robot Sir Chromalot, using a pneumatic flipper of Ray Tait's design.

Robot History[edit | edit source]

Series 3[edit | edit source]

In its first Robot Wars appearance, Centurion was drawn up against previous heat finalists Excalibur in the first round of the Heat.

Centurion wedges underneath Excalibur

The axes locked together

Centurion was quick around the arena floor, taking one axe blow from Excalibur but retaliating by pushing Excalibur into Sir Killalot and later Sgt. Bash. After it managed to escape, Centurion attacked with its axe, the two axe weapon locking together momentarily. Centurion retreated and the House Robots closed in on Excalibur whose movement was notably impeded. Cease was called and Centurion progressed to Round 2.

Centurion went up against another veteran in Round 2, 101.

Centurion is knocked back by 101's spike

101 pushes Centurion into the side wall

Both robots were fast on the arena floor. Centurion started off lifting 101 with its prongs, but it was unable to overturn the invertible robot. Centurion then pushed 101 into the arena wall, but 101 recovered and after a few stabs with its retracting spike, slammed Centurion into the side wall. Upon impact, Centurion's drive chain broke on the arena spikes that were emerging from the ground.Citation? The weapons continued to fire but Centurion was deemed immobilised, and subsequently attacked by an incoming Sir Killalot. Sir Killalot badly damaged Centurion's lifting forks with its claw, almost ripping them right off the robot. Cease was soon called and Centurion was eliminated from the competition.

"The Roman wars are about to come to an end here! Et tu, Killalote? Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it "in for me"!"
— Jonathan Pearce, referring to Caesar's assassination with two famous quotes, the first from Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, the second being from the film Carry On Cleo

Series 4[edit | edit source]

"Capable of Rome-ing the arena floor"
— More Rome puns from Jonathan Pearce

Centurion was granted one of two substitute seeds that was brought in after both Trident and Blade's Big Bruva dropped out of the competition at the last minute. By the time of filming, Centurion was seeded 31st. In Heat I of the Fourth Wars, the seeded Centurion was drawn up against two other veteran teams in Small Torque and Splinter, in the first round melee. Before this battle, the other two teams had agreed to team up on the seeded Centurion.

"15 tonnes of pressure, I don't think so."
— Jonathan Pearce as Centurion's axe causes only minor damage to Small Torque

Centurion's opening flip on Splinter

Centurion's axe comes down on Small Torque

Sir Killalot pits Centurion

In the battle, Splinter and Centurion clashed, and Centurion managed to flip Splinter up but not over. Splinter then rammed Centurion into the side wall, and this combined with several follow up attacks from Small Torque was enough to knock Centurion's drive out. It continued to fire its weapons, unable to gain purchase on Small Torque with its flipper or cause damage with its axe when Splinter later pushed Small Torque back into it. The robot briefly came back to life and rammed into the arena wall, where it remained until the House Robots closed in. Sir Killalot came in to break Centurion's flipper, pick it up and carry over to the pit of oblivion where it was dropped, eliminating Centurion from the competition. This was Centurion's final appearance in Robot Wars. It was later revealed that the safety device's pin had sheared during the battle, and the power from Centurion had been lost as a result.

"We were sitting ducks."
— Ray Tait

Results[edit | edit source]

Series 3
The Third Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 2
Heat J, Round 1 vs. Excalibur Won
Heat J, Round 2 vs. 101 Lost
Series 4
The Fourth Wars - UK Championship
31st Seed, Heat, Round 1
Heat I, Eliminator vs. Small Torque, Splinter Eliminated

Wins/Losses[edit | edit source]

  • Wins: 1
  • Losses: 2

Series Record[edit | edit source]

Main Series Centurion Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Heat, Round 2
The Fourth Wars Heat, Round 1
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
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Did not enter
Series 2 Did not enter

NOTE: Ray Tait would compete in Series 5, 6 and both series of Extreme with Sir Chromalot. Sir Chromalot also attempted to enter Series 7, although Ray Tait had left the team at this stage.

Outside Robot Wars[edit | edit source]

Team captain Ray Tait has built three other robots that have appeared on various television shows;

  • Skeletron, (often called Skelly), an innovative robot that moved like a human and was based on a human skeleton. It entered in the rope climbing competition of Techno Games, where it won gold. Skeletron still works to this day and appears at shows such as John Findlay's Extreme Robots.
  • Mechatron for Mechanoids.
  • David Wreckem that appeared on Blue Peter, where it acted as a waiter, and also appeared on the show Innovation Nation.

To this day Tait still owns the shell, axe, flipper panel and wheels of Centurion, but the frame was disposed of after being damaged.

"Sadly there's not much left of Centurion apart from some poly body panels, front armour plate, lifting forks, Axe and the wheels. Centurions framework got cut up as it sustained some damage, the motors, batteries and airvalves went into Sir Chromalot."
— Ray Tait

Centurion at the High Wycombe charity event

At the High Wycombe charity event organised by Bledlow Ridge CC School in June 1999, Centurion's weapon had four prongs instead of two, and took on other robots such as Panic Attack, Griffon, Miss Struts and both versions of Inquisitor[1].

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Both of Centurion's appearances were in the same Heat as Eric.
    • King Buxton was also present in both of Centurion's appearances, although it only appeared in the Pinball in Series 4.
  • In the Robot Wars Official Sticker Collection, Centurion was listed as Centurion II. This name has not been used outside of the book.
  • Team member Matt Tait went on to work for the Robot Wars production company Mentorn, was a member of the first steering group and managed the Robot Wars website and forum from Series 4-7. Ray Tait was also part of The Steering Committee.

References[edit | edit source]

Official Series 3 photo

External Links[edit | edit source]

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