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"Pika Rulez!"
— The slogan painted on Pika 2

Pika was the name given to two Belgian machines entered in Dutch Robot Wars. Pika 2 was the team's first entry, which lost its first round battle in the first series, but fought back through a losers melee to reach the heat final, where its run was ended by Botwork. Pika 2 was the only Belgian robot to reach a heat final in Dutch Series 1, making it the most successful Belgian robot in that series. Pika 3 competed in Dutch Series 2 and defeated Hoot easily, but lost to √3² on a Judges' decision.

Versions of Pika[]

Pika[]

"I wonder what became of Pika 1, actually! Scrap-iron, probably."
— Eric Corton briefly references the original Pika during Heat C of Series 1 (translated from Dutch)

The original Pika, which qualified for the Dutch Wars

The original Pika was never seen on Robot Wars, but competed in other live events in the Netherlands. It was a two-wheel robot powered by wheelchair motors with two spinning discs, one vertical and one horizontal. Pika qualified for the Dutch Wars, but Marco thought that it wasn't competitive enough as it had no srimech or armour, and had open wheels, so he turned it into Pika 2.

Pika 2[]

"This is our robot, Pika 2, with a spinning disc of a thousand Watts! Pika 2 rulez!"
— Marco van Hek (translated from Dutch)

Pika 2 in the arena, with the wheels of Meshuggah

Pika 2 (styled by the team as Pika II) was a wedge shaped robot painted in the colours of the Belgian flag with a vertically-mounted spiked disc. The disc ran on 1000w of power and was positioned towards the back of the robot, so it could attack robots that were on the wedge, or approached Pika from behind. Tim van Hek's plush Pikachu sat atop the robot.

Over the course of its heat, Pika 2 underwent numerous repairs and started to borrow components from other competitors, including motors and even the wheel(s) of Meshuggah.

Pika 3[]

Pika 3 enters the arena

Pika 3 (styled by the team as Pika III) competed in the second series. It was now a four-wheel drive, invertible box-shaped robot, armed with a lifting mechanism at the front. It was more focused on pushing power, much like Tornado. Pikachu now sat at the front of the robot. It was fast, but featured a high ground clearance, which was exposed in its loss.

Etymology[]

The robot was named after Marco van Hek's youngest son Bram, who frequently went by the nickname "Pika". Unable to think of any name that he liked better, Marco van Hek decided to go with it and model his robot after Pikachu, the iconic face of the popular video game and anime series Pokémon.

The Team[]

Main article: Team Rubbish

Pika 2 with Team VHS-Robots

Team VHS-Robots in Dutch Series 2

Pika was entered into Robot Wars by a Belgian team named Team VHS-Robots, nowadays known as Team Rubbish. All versions of Pika were built by the team captain Marco van Hek, a fish salesman by trade, who also drove Pika 2 in its first battle. He was joined in Dutch Series 1 and 2 by his young son Tim van Hek, who drove Pika 2 from its second fight onwards, and Pika 3 in all of its battles. Joeri Ramakers completed the team.

Outside of the Dutch series, Marco would fail to qualify for The Seventh Wars with Caesar before later competing in Series 9 and 10 with Cobra.

Robot History[]

Dutch Series 1[]

Bridget Maasland: "What’s your strategy, how will you go about this?"
Team VHS-Robots: "Smashing. Just, smashing, nothing more, nothing less."
Bridget Maasland: "After months of preparation and thinking, all you’ve got to say is: ‘smashing’?"
Team VHS-Robots: "We’ve held a meeting, and we’ve decided: smashing."
— Simple tactics from Team VHS-Robots (translated from Dutch)

Pika 2 competed in Heat C, where it was initially drawn against Hammerhead.

Pika 2's wheel is slammed by Hammerhead

The immobile Pika 2 beaches Hammerhead on its wedge

The two machines spent the opening encounters circling each other, with neither robot's spinning weapon leaving much of an impression. Hammerhead hit the rear end of Pika 2, and followed this up with three consecutive hits on Pika 2, which left it immobilised. In victory however, Hammerhead beached itself on Pika 2's wedge, but this didn't save Pika 2 from the Refbot's countdown. Matilda then flipped Pika 2 over with her flywheel, dislodging a wheel in the process. Luckily, Pika 2 was able to be fixed for the upcoming losers melee.

"Pika’s gonna fly… No problem of course, ‘cause Pika’s a cute cartoon creature after all."
— Eric Corton (translated from Dutch)

In the losers' melee, Pika 2 was intended to face Maximum Torque and Meshuggah. However, Meshuggah withdrew due to technical issues, and Pika 2 fought Maximum Torque alone. To even participate, Pika 2 had to borrow numerous components from other teams, including a wheel from the now-withdrawn Meshuggah.

Bridget Maasland: "So tell me, what will your strategy be?"
Tim van Hek: "Uh. Pika."
— A tenative plan from Team VHS-Robots, prompting Bridget Maasland to suggest that Pika 2 should 'smash into the backside' of its opponent using its disc (translated from Dutch)

Pika 2 wedges under Maximum Torque

Pika 2 and Maximum Torque charged at each other initially, and Pika 2 got underneath Maximum Torque, which knocked the Pikachu toy of Pika 2 backwards. Pika 2's spinning disc barely scratched Maximum Torque's bodywork, while Maximum Torque's hammer tapped Pika 2, doing even less damage. Pika 2 drove its opponent into Shunt, who axed through the hammer slot of Maximum Torque. Maximum Torque appeared to have lost drive on one side, before Pika 2's disc finally caused visible damage to its opponent's side panel. Maximum Torque steadily spun itself towards the pit of oblivion, after it had largely lost drive and wished to eliminate itself to avoid further damage. A glancing shove from Pika 2 then sent it down, reinstating Pika 2 into the competition.

Rob Kamphues: "I think you’re the youngest Robot Wars contestant ever!"
Tim van Hek: "Yes."
Rob Kamphues: "And you steered that entire thing all by yourself?"
Tim van Hek: "No."
Marco van Hek: "Yes you did, you were the one steering, weren’t you?"
Rob Kamphues: "That was you steering?"
Tim van Hek: "Yes."
Rob Kamphues: "And you sent them [Maximum Torque] straight to the house robots?"
Tim van Hek: "Yes."
Rob Kamphues: "So you’ll be steering again in the next round?"
Marco van Hek: "He will, he’s better than I am!"
— Post-match interview with Team VHS-Robots after Pika 2 won the Losers' melee (translated from Dutch)

In the heat Semi-Final, Pika faced X-Bot, a robot built by Marco van Hek's future teammate Jeroen van Lieverloo.

Bridget Maasland: "Tim, you’ll be giving it another go?"
Tim van Hek: "Yeah."
Bridget Maasland: "Did you take a good look at your opponent?"
Tim van Hek: "Yeah."
Bridget Maasland: "Think you can manage to get it [Pika II] underneath it?"
Tim van Hek: "Yeah."
Bridget Maasland: "Well, if you do, you’ve gotta drive it to the pit, and hurl it in there!"
Tim van Hek: "Yeah."
— A series of questions for young Tim van Hek (translated from Dutch)

Pika 2 pressures X-Bot near the pit

Pika 2 splits X-Bot's lifter

Pika 2 started slowly once again, bumping into the front of X-Bot before both robots held a period of avoidance. Pika 2 later guided X-Bot onto the flame pit, and both robots met again over the closed pit. X-Bot hit the pit release tyre, and wedged under Pika 2's left wheel, pushing it towards the pit, but Pika 2 escaped. In return, Pika 2 carefully tried to push X-Bot into the pit, but couldn't finish it off, and was forced to retreat. In its most critical attack, Pika 2 then drove under X-Bot's lifting scoop, and split the panel in half by slicing through a joint using its vertical spinner. After causing this damage, Pika 2 also edged X-Bot back onto the flame pit, and time expired on the battle. On a Judges' decision, Pika 2 collected the victory, and advanced to the Heat Final.

Bridget Maasland: "After getting this far, of course you want to get to the finale, and I think you couldn’t picture that at all for Pika!"
Marco van Hek: "No, not after how that first time went. I really didn’t have much hope anymore then. But I got a lot of help from other teams-- different wheels, different motors added."
— Team VHS-Robots address their borrowed components, including Meshuggah's wheels

In the Heat Final, Pika 2 fought the horizontal spinner of Botwork.

"Botwork has a rotating disc, Pika II has a rotating disc, but Pika II is shaped slightly differently, and that might just be an advantage."
— Eric Corton (translated from Dutch)

Pika 2 in battle with Botwork

Pika 2 drove at the side of Botwork early on, pushing it towards the arena side wall. Botwork retaliated by whacking one of Pika 2's wheels, shredding the outer rim and impairing its mobility. Pika 2 went for the pit release, but was hit by Botwork twice more, with the second assault tearing the outer rim completely from the tyres of Pika 2. Botwork pushed Pika 2 onto the flame pit, disintegrating its tyres, and setting fire to the Pikachu toy adorning Pika 2. However, despite all of the punishment it took, Pika 2 was still mobile at the end of the battle, and the battle was sent to a Jury's decision.

"Oh, how terrible I find this, that little one on the controls is seeing his father’s work die in the flames! Such DRAMA!"
— Eric Corton (translated from Dutch)

Despite this, the outcome of the battle was fairly clear, and Pika 2 lost the Jury's decision to Botwork. Nevertheless, by reaching the Heat Final, Pika 2 became the best-performing Belgian robot of the series, effectively making them the 'Belgian champion' over Philipper.

Rob Kamphues: "Your little toy was engulfed in flames... was it yours?"
Tim van Hek: "Yeah..."
Rob Kamphues: "Aww, should I buy you a new one?"
Tim van Hek: "Yeah!"
Rob Kamphues: "But will they then put it on the next robot?"
Tim van Hek: "No!"
— Part of the post-match interview following the Heat Final (translated from Dutch)

After the battle where Tim van Hek's Pikachu toy was burnt over the flame pit, Rob Kamphues jokingly offered to buy him a new one, before passing the job onto father Marco van Hek.

Rob Kamphues: "Are you angry or are you sad?"
Tim van Hek: "Angry (spoken more like 'angwy')"
Rob Kamphues: "Why?"
Tim van Hek: "I said to papa ‘you’re not allowed to do that’ but he did that anyway!"
Rob Kamphues: "Putting your toy on it?"
Tim van Hek: "Yeah!"
Rob Kamphues: "So then, papa should be the one to buy you a new toy."
Tim van Hek: "Yeah. He said he would."
Rob Kamphues: "Oh, good. Make him get three, then you can afford to lose a few next time."

— End of the post-match interview following the Heat Final (translated from Dutch)

Dutch Series 2[]

Competing in Heat E, Pika 3 was initially drawn against Reflex in the first round. However, Reflex withdrew from the battle, and it was replaced by a loanerbot driven by the Beaverbot team, Hoot.

Pika 3 rams Hoot into the Pit Release button

Pika 3 places Hoot onto the lip of the Pit

Pika 3 appeared the more aggressive, slamming Hoot into the pit release tyre, which bent Hoot's rather spindly and weak spinning arms. This attack left Hoot unable to move freely, so Pika 3 pushed it into Sir Killalot, who picked it up and placed it in the centre of the arena. Pika 3 then pushed Hoot onto the edge of the pit, and Hoot drove in.

In round two, Pika 3 was against three part clusterbot √3², the second series in a row where Pika faced Jeroen van Lieverloo in the second round, alongside WJ Dijkstra and Alexander Russchen.

Pika 3 accelerates Elevation into an unoccupied CPZ

Pika 3 is swarmed by √3²

Pika 3 and √3² started ponderously, before Pika 3 singled out Elevation for an attack, pushing it across the arena into a CPZ. Pika 3 unleashed another onslaught, ramming S.O.Xbot (created by Jeroen van Lieverloo, whose machine X-Bot was beaten by Pika 2 in the first series) into Matilda's CPZ. Matilda attacked with her flywheel, flipping S.O.Xbot out of the arena and hitting a camera. This gave the upper hand to Pika 3, however since only one-third of the machine was immobilised, √3² was allowed to continue fighting. Pika 3 activated the pit, but soon got its lifting spikes stuck under an angle grinder. Its weaponry was noticeably damaged after Refbot freed it. Pika 3 pushed Elevation around, but then spent the remainder of the fight being attacked by Elevation and ODT-0.33, and lost on a Jury's decision, eliminating it from the competition.

Results[]

PIKA 2 - RESULTS
Series 1
Dutch Championship
Heat Final
Heat C, Round 1 vs. Hammerhead Lost
Heat C, Losers Melee vs. Meshuggah, Maximum Torque Won
NOTE: Meshuggah withdrew from the fight, leaving only Pika 2 and Maximum Torque
Heat C, Semi-Final vs. X-Bot Won
Heat C, Final vs. Botwork Lost
PIKA 3 - RESULTS
Series 2
Dutch Championship
Heat, Semi-Final
Heat E, Round 1 vs. Hoot Won
Heat E, Semi-Final vs. √3² Lost

Wins/Losses[]

  • Wins: 3
  • Losses: 3

Series Record[]

Dutch Series[]

Dutch Series Pika Series Record
Series 1 Heat Final (Pika 2)
Series 2 Heat, Round 2 (Pika 3)

UK Series[]

Series Pika Series 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 Did not enter
The Seventh Wars Failed to qualify with Caesar
Series 8 Not selected with Brutus
Series 9 Entered with Cobra
Series 10 World Series with Cobra

Outside Robot Wars[]

Pika 3 at the Dutch Robot Games in 2001

Pika 3 battles Elevation in 2002

Caesar tussles with Scraptosaur in 2003

Caesar battles Das Gepäck circa 2003

Prior to Dutch Series 2, Pika 3 made its first appearance at the Dutch Robot Games in 2001, although it was not working on the day and did not fight[1]. Before Pika 3 fought √3² on television, Pika 3 fought WJ Dijkstra's section of the clusterbot, Elevation, at a live event held in Marienheem. Pika 3 had not been painted at this stage, although it still featured a plush Pikachu.

Marco's robot Caesar would also fight in in Dutch Robot Games in 2003 with its original wedge design, and make appearances at exhibitions around the country.

In 2019, Pika 3's drive motors were carried over to the team's new middleweight, Brutus Jr. For more information on the team's excursions outside of Robot Wars, see Team Rubbish.

Trivia[]

"Then again, Pika doesn’t seem to be all that great a listener! During testing back at home, a part flew through the roof, and Pika 2 also smashed its creator’s wall!"
— Eric Corton on the testing of Pika 2 (translated from Dutch)

The message on the underside of Pika 2

  • Pika 2 had the message Please flip me back, I don't like it written on the underside of its chassis.
  • Pika is the second competitor to use a Japanese video game/anime character as a mascot. The others were Killerhurtz, with Charmander (also from Pokémon) and Destructosaur, with the Digimon Greymon.
    • It is the only robot named after a Japanese video game/anime character.

Honours[]


External Links[]

References[]

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