- "We wanted a non-aggressive name, something totally mundane."
- — Mike Hammerton on naming Eric
Eric is a heavyweight robot which competed in Series 3 and 4 of Robot Wars. While it lost in the first round of Series 3 to King Buxton after backing itself into the pit, it reached the Heat Final in Series 4, before losing to Splinter there on a judges' decision.
Eric was a two-wheeled, triangular wedge-shaped robot, somewhat similar in design to Raizer Blade. Built with a space-frame triangulated, fully welded aluminium chassis and featuring a top speed of up to 12mph, it was armoured in aluminium and stainless steel, and painted green with flame decals and eyes - the latter presumably to give the robot a 'personality' and a vague resemblance to a fire-breathing dragon. Eric's paintwork was done by captain Mike Hammerton's daughter, Michelle. The team had drawn stencil designs on the panels as an outline for the flame decals .
Eric's weapon was a hydraulic lifting arm powered by a starter motor from a grass cutter, which was capable of lifting 200kg. The arm featured an accumulator which enabled it to fire quickly, with the hydraulic system alone weighing around 30kg. Eric's lifter had a spatula wedge on the end which enabled it to get underneath opponents with ease. A set of teeth was concealed underneath the arm and along the chassis where it was mounted, allowing the arm to also clamp on and crush opponents with a force of 1.25 tonnes. Eric also featured a set of four top-mounted spikes, painted black.
For Series 4, Eric received multiple upgrades, including an extended lower blade for its lifting arm/jaw, as well as a self-righting mechanism consisting of two side-mounted arms actuated by the hydraulic ram used for the lifting arm.
The robot was quoted at costing £1000 to build, and weighed exactly 80.0kg in both series it competed in – just 0.6kg over the original heavyweight limit.
An unpainted Eric successfully qualified for Series 3 of Robot Wars through the same obstacle course audition process as all other robots.
Eric attended the qualifiers for the Fourth Wars, and was drawn in a head-to-head fight with the original Killer Carrot machine. The fight went to a judges' decision with both robots surviving to the end, however the judges declared Eric the winner after proving to be the more controlled robot. As a result, Eric was granted a place in the main series, with its opponent being named as a reserve, but was not used.
- "Sadly because of a lack of time to test anything, it was almost impossible to steer and lost its one and only fight to "Eric" by a judges decision."
- — Killer Carrot team website
Under a new team, an application was filled for a completely unchanged Eric to enter Series 8 and Series 9 of Robot Wars. However, Eric was ultimately not chosen to compete in either series. The team, consisting of Alasdair Sutherland, Alice Merriman, Joel West-Ward, Chris Lobley, and originally Sarah Malyan, later became known as Team E.R.I.C (eviscerating robots in combat).
Prior to Series 10, Team E.R.I.C. completed a new version of Eric, with an alternative identity of Snapdragon being considered for the use of qualification to Robot Wars, although it is unconfirmed if the new build did indeed apply for the series.
Eric made its Robot Wars debut in The Third Wars, competing in Heat J. In its first-round battle, it faced returning Semi-Finalist King Buxton.
The battle began with Eric and King Buxton meeting and bumping into each other in the centre of the arena, before Eric was lifted and pushed sideways by King Buxton. Eric turned sharply, escaping King Buxton's attack, before slaloming towards King Buxton and lifting it with its arm. Again, it spun away as King Buxton tried to push it, with King Buxton losing one of the tips for its forks in the process. Eric lifted King Buxton twice more as the latter drove up its side, before it turned round and King Buxton pushed it towards the pit. In doing so, King Buxton missed, with both it and Eric stranded on the edge with their left-hand wheels suspended over the pit edge. Eric reversed in an attempt to push King Buxton in, but fell in itself after King Buxton reversed away. As a result, it was eliminated from the Third Wars despite performing strongly throughout the battle.
- "Eric towards the pit – ooh, goodness me! And King Buxton is left teetering, on the brink of oblivion, and Eric – OH NO, has backed itself down into the pit! King Buxton spun away and Eric went down."
- — Jonathan Pearce as Eric meets its demise
- "Driver error left Eric idal last time around."
- — Jonathan Pearce
With improvements to its lifter and the addition of a srimech, Eric returned for The Fourth Wars, competing in Heat I. In its first-round eliminator, it faced the sixteenth seed Killerhurtz and series newcomer Destruct-A-Bubble.
- "Eric, could be dark horses here..."
- — Jonathan Pearce predicts a strong performance from Eric
At the start, Eric dodged Killerhurtz's initial charge before attempting to get underneath it, but missing. It then attempted to flip Destruct-A-Bubble, but missed as well, and was rammed into the latter by Killerhurtz before driving away. Eric drove head-on underneath Killerhurtz, before lifting it as Killerhurtz attempted to line up an attack on Destruct-A-Bubble. Eventually, Destruct-A-Bubble pushed Eric towards Shunt's CPZ, with the two robots driving alongside each other as they manoeuvred away. Killerhurtz separated both robots by ramming into them, only for Eric to attack Killerhurtz from behind and lift it a second time. After this, Eric hesitated, allowing Killerhurtz to block it and axe its right-hand side. With both robots now stuck together, Killerhurtz slowly pushed Eric forward as Eric struggled to escape, only for both robots to separate as Killerhurtz retracted its axe. Eric bumped into Shunt as it drove free, before attempting to flip both Killerhurtz and Destruct-A-Bubble as Killerhurtz's axe became embedded in the latter. It succeeded in lifting Killerhurtz twice more as the latter retracted its axe and was pushed into the wall by Destruct-A-Bubble, with all three robots surviving to a judges' decision.
- "Killerhurtz, certainly, was aggressive, and Eric too. Quite often they combined in a pincer attack – you could call that a double against the bubble."
- — Jonathan Pearce as the Judges' decision beckons
The judges unanimously ruled that Destruct-A-Bubble was eliminated, putting Eric through to the second round along with Killerhurtz.
It started by driving towards and past Small Torque, before briefly reversing over the flame jet and dodging another charge from the pursuing Small Torque. Eric kept dodging Small Torque's attacks until it pushed Small Torque past the flame jet, after which the two robots broke up and Eric attempted pushing Small Torque again. It withstood a side-on attack from Small Torque's disc to keep dodging and luring the Scottish robot around the arena, before helping Sergeant Bash pin Small Torque against the wall as the latter drove into the House Robot's CPZ. Small Torque slammed into Eric's side, before Eric flipped it over using its arm, leaving Small Torque to run on its disc. Eric pushed the inverted Small Torque around in circles before the latter drove away and suddenly stopped moving, its internals catching fire as Eric nudged it a few more times. It was then pushed away by Sir Killalot as the other House Robots attacked the immobile Small Torque, but survived to emerge victorious.
Eric attempted to drive away from Splinter in the opening seconds, but was briefly pushed by Splinter before dodging and driving Splinter close to the wall-mounted flame jets. Eric backed away before driving away from and attempting to get underneath Splinter's scoop with its arm. As the two robots bumped into each other again, Eric drove away from Splinter, but in doing so allowed Splinter to push it into Shunt's CPZ, with Shunt axing Eric's armour as Splinter pinned it against an entry gate. The three robots separated, with Eric momentarily driving towards Matilda before spinning around and being pushed sideways across the arena by Splinter.
Eric was rammed into the walls twice more by Splinter, the latter using its side arms to grab hold of Eric on the second charge. It backed away, bumping into Splinter again as they met once more in the middle of the arena, before getting underneath Splinter and flipping it onto its side. Splinter rolled back onto its wheels, with Eric driving over the Flame Pit before again flicking Splinter away. Eric was then pushed around the arena once again by Splinter, before being rammed into and propped against the wall as the battle drew to a close. The Heat Final went to a Judges' decision, which went in favour of Splinter, eliminating Eric from the Fourth Wars.
|ERIC - RESULTS|
|The Third Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Heat J, Round 1||vs. King Buxton||Lost|
|The Fourth Wars - UK Championship|
|Heat I, Eliminator||vs. Destruct-A-Bubble, Killerhurtz (16)||Qualified|
|Heat I, Semi-Final||vs. Small Torque||Won|
|Heat I, Final||vs. Splinter||Lost|
- Wins: 2
- Losses: 2
|Series||Eric Series Record|
|The First Wars||Did not enter|
|The Second Wars||Did not enter|
|The Third Wars||Heat, Round 1|
|The Fourth Wars||Heat Final|
|The Fifth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Sixth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Seventh Wars||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Not selected|
|Series 9||Not selected|
|Series 10||Did not enter|
Outside Robot Wars
After Robot Wars entered its hiatus, Eric was initially sold to Adam Emmett, the captain of Team Mute, who was intending to give it upgrades. However, due to other commitments, Emmett was too busy to take Eric on as a project, so it was sold once more, to Tony Smith of the newly named Team Scar, a Glasgow-based team who also ran Scar and Chimera from Team Death. Team Scar planned on converting an existing robot into a featherweight version of Eric called Eric Jr. A successor to Eric Jr, Eric Jr 2, was also made, based on Team Shock's former featherweight Shockwave 2, which has since been sold to Gareth Anstee and renamed Utopia.
More recently in 2015, Eric was sold again to Riptide Robotics, who competed with it at a live event (see Robot Wars Live Events) and intended to upgrade it with the aim of re-entering it in live competitions more frequently. It was to receive a full HARDOX armour upgrade, as well as lithium polymer batteries, up-to-date speed controllers and a full pressure pneumatic system instead of its former hydraulic mechanism, in order to bring it up to date with more contemporary combat robots.
The newest version of Eric, now under a brand new team named Team E.R.I.C. (Eviscerating Robots in Combat) captained by Alasdair Sutherland, with some assistance from Riptide Robotics, appeared at Extreme Robots in Manchester, sporting new HDPE armour, googly eyes, and a new electric lifter. It did not enter the arena on its first day of combat due to traction issues, but on the Sunday, it fought two matches against Big Nipper and Gabriel, also being flipped by Behemoth in the first, but survived for the full three minutes in the second, which also featured Expulsion.
In May-June 2017, one of Eric's original wheel guards was sold on eBay, raising £72 for charity. Its face plate from its TV form, signed by the robot's current team, was also sold as part of Alex Brown's second charity auction, raising £33 for Ty Caraid Africa. The back frame of Eric was also sold on eBay in June 2020 while Eric's other wheelguard was also sold the following month.
The original version of Eric, still damaged from its battle with Gabriel on the Robot Wars live circuit, was among the many former Robot Wars competitors at the Robonerd event in 2018, as a display piece. Eric also returned to Robonerd in August 2019 and changed ownership, being taken back to Northern Ireland by new owner Anthony Murney.
In August 2021, two years after aquiring Eric, Anthony would begin restoring Eric to its original state. This included stripping Eric of its original panels and paintjob and giving it new panels that would then be given a new paintjob acain to the original.
Robot Wars Live Events
Under the ownership of Riptide Robotics, Eric was originally planned to make its Robot Wars live events debut in September 2015, competing in the World Championships. However, it was withdrawn from the event due to time and financial restraints. According to Matt Smith of Team Riptide, Eric's armour is no longer strong enough for modern robot competitions and the team did not feel comfortable entering it into events until it had been completely upgraded.
Despite initial concerns about its performance, Eric made its Robot Wars Live Event debut at the 2016 Manchester event, where it fought in the second show. During its appearance, it sustained extensive damage in a battle against Gabriel, which bent most of the robot's chassis and armour panels out of shape. The damage has since been repaired.
During the Manchester event, Harry from Team Panoramic made a short documentary with the team called "The Erickoning - An Eric Documentary" showing some testing, fights during the Sunday shows, quick speeches and an interview in front of the crowd.
- Both of Eric's appearances were in the same heat as Centurion and King Buxton (due to the latter appearing in the Pinball in Heat I of Series 4).
- Both robots that beat Eric were former or eventual semi-finalists and both fought and lost to Pussycat in a later series.
- Both robots that beat Eric were seeded seventeenth in the series after they beat Eric and lost in the second round of their heat to the robot who then lost to the eventual series champion.
- Eric - Fighting Robot Facebook page
- Team Eric Twitter page
- The Erickoning - An Eric Documentary
- The Erickoning Continues