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"Roadblock was an A level Technology project for Hender...Hender is a very able technology student who has been presented to HRH the Prince of Wales with his technology project."
— Peter Kinsey

Roadblock (also spelled Road Block) was a robot that competed in the British television game show Robot Wars.

One of the most successful robots in the early years of the show, Roadblock won the first ever broadcast episode of the show and then went on to become the inaugural UK Champion by winning The First Wars. Roadblock notched up a seven-straight battle winning streak, including a dominant performance in the six-way title fight of Series 1. Roadblock sought to defend its title in the Second Wars and placed third after being defeated by Cassius in the Grand Final.

Built as an A-level school project for students at Bodmin Community College, Roadblock was a large wedge-shaped machine covered in road signs that inspired the robot's name. It typically used this wedge to control and turn opponents over, as demonstrated in combat against Recyclopse, Robot the Bruce and Killertron on two occasions.

After two appearances in the UK Series, Roadblock was retired and a similarly designed successor, Beast of Bodmin, entered The Third Wars.

Design[]

"Initially, the team had problems coming up with a body design. By chance, Hender saw a road sign that exactly fitted the dimensions of the chassis, and which he could see would make an excellent bonnet. Fortunately, the team knew someone who worked at the local council, and this contact took them to a huge skip, from where they chose the "Road Ahead Closed" sign that became the robot's most distinctive feature."
Robot Wars Technical Manual on the construction of Roadblock

Back view of Roadblock

Roadblock in the arena before its Gauntlet run

Hender Blewett and Peter Kinsey designed Roadblock after studying robots from American robot combat events, namely the original 1994-1997 US Robot Wars competitions founded by Marc Thorpe. With money being a major issue for the newly-formed Bodmin Community College team, a number of local companies donated materials for the robot's construction, including a second-hand electric wheelchair that formed the basis for its chassis and locomotion.[1][2]

Roadblock in the arena with Nemesis fur

Roadblock ultimately took the form of a large wedge-shaped robot with a two-wheel drive system, two 12V gel cell batteries for power and road signs forming its front panel and scoop. The signs, salvaged from a skip with assistance from a council employee, were originally planned to be painted over, but when Bodmin Community College ran out of time to do so, they entered Roadblock with them unpainted. Ultimately, the BBC liked the appearance of the road signs, and the team deliberately kept the signs unpainted for both series. Roadblock's rear end comprised of a section of an old oil drum, which was painted over with red, yellow and black hazard stripes.[3] The latter were accompanied by black and white chevron markings on the sides for Series 2.

Roadblock after its victory in Series 1

Hender Blewett with Roadblock's interchangeable blades

Though Roadblock relied mostly on its front-end shape to push and tip opponents over, its most potent weapon was a rear-mounted cutting disc powered by a 25cc two-stroke strimmer engine. The petrol-powered blade rotated at over 6,600rpm, with the Bodmin Community College team having the option of multiple discs including a circular grinder, a black cutting blade lined with prominent sharp teeth, and a square-shaped blade which went unused.[2] This made Roadblock one of the very first UK Robot Wars competitors to adopt interchangeable weapons as part of its design, alongside fellow Heat A competitors Killertron and Shogun.

Roadblock in Series 2

Roadblock in the arena during Series 2

For Series 2, Roadblock underwent a complete internal rebuild, which saw its motors and electronics moved to the front. According to Oliver Steeples, the wheelchair motors were swapped out for 'industrial' types, though the original control box[2] - repurposed as the robot's speed controller - remained. A new welded aluminium chassis was also created in place of the former steel one to reduce weight, this being made from a more up-to-date wheelchair. Roadblock's rear weapon was upgraded to a 12-inch tungsten-tipped circular saw, which was now placed further back from the rear bodywork on new mounts to further improve its damaging capability. A distinctive two-tone police siren was also fitted, which sounded whenever Roadblock attacked its opponents during the course of Series 2.[4]

"Roadblock looked the same as last year on the outside, but all the internal electronics had been changed... The weapon was a cutting disk attached to a strimmer motor, but the problem was that strimmer shafts aren't up to much and it kept snapping which caused them problems. If you look at the inside of the lid of roadblock [sic] there is a black square. This is where they had to cover up their sponsorship..."
— Oliver Steeples detailing some of the changes to Roadblock for Series 2[4]

In both series it competed in, Roadblock weighed slightly over the original Heavyweight limit; at 82.5kg in Series 1, and 80.9kg in Series 2.

Etymology[]

"Originally, the robot was called 'Road Rage', but a sensitive article in a tabloid newspaper during the production of the series led to the BBC's suggestion that the robot be named more benignly - hence 'Roadblock'. However, the name became ironically appropriate in the competition as Roadblock demonstrated power and torque superior to any other competitor or house robot."
— Team Roadblock website[2]

Roadblock's name derived from the term describing a structure or barricade used to stop vehicles from accessing a road, e.g. for roadworks. The name was chosen when Bodmin Community College were advised by the BBC not to follow through with their original choice of Road Rage; ultimately, the team would consider this apt for their robot's theme and performance during the first two UK Series.

The Team[]

Roadblock with its team and Series 1 trophy

Main article: Bodmin Community College

Roadblock was entered into Series 1 and 2 by a team representing Bodmin Community College, in Cornwall. The team captain and driver of Roadblock was Hender Blewett, with teammate Chris Kinsey helping to construct the machine. Both were Systems & Control students at the college. Their teacher Peter Kinsey also completed the team. Members of the Tor team also made a number of contributions towards the machine's drive system.

Qualification[]

"In May '97 Hender Blewett was considering various options for his A-level Technology project. At a loss for inspiration, he was just about stuck when, as if by fate, a letter arrived on the desk of the Head of Technology, Peter Kinsey. This letter was the key to what was to become an epic venture. It contained information about Robotwars in the US and an application form for the up and coming British Robotwars TV series. Hender was excited by the prospect and a team of three of the finest minds in Bodmin was quickly formed to challenge the rest of Britain in a battle to the death."
— Team Roadblock website on Bodmin Community College receiving the Series 1 application form[2]

Under its original name of Road Rage, Roadblock applied for the first series of Robot Wars through a form received by Peter Kinsley. The form was sent to Bodmin Community College with a letter containing information on the original 1994-1997 US competitions founded by Marc Thorpe, inspiring Hender Blewett to use its construction and entry as the basis for his A-level project.

Within two-and-a-half months of submitting their application, Bodmin Community College got the machine to an operable state, all while sending in a number of update videos detailing the robot's build process and attending the in-person rehearsal to meet and greet with production and technical staff. One test video showed a partially-complete Road Rage (finished in silver but already with the distinctive '200 yds' sign fitted) pulling a car belonging to Hender Blewett, with no issues being reported on the Team Roadblock website. This, along with other parts of the robot's application video for Series 1, was shown during The Making of Robot Wars, though Road Rage's name was changed to Roadblock at the request of the BBC before filming began (see Trivia).[2]

Despite being seeded first and the reigning champion, Roadblock took part in the Series 2 rehearsals in a more or less complete state. It appeared with its new chassis and improved circular saw, although its name had yet to be applied to the side panels at that time. Roadblock would ultimately be selected to compete and defend its UK Championship title for that series.[5]

Robot History[]

Series 1[]

"Weighing in at 82 and a half kilograms, and over 1.45 metres long, all the signs suggest that this is a robot to be reckoned with, carrying a deadly circular saw."
Jonathan Pearce introduces Roadblock for the very first time

Roadblock evades the House Robots

Roadblock reaches the end zone

Competing in Heat A, Roadblock was the very first competitor to be introduced in Robot Wars, and the first robot in the show's history to attempt The Gauntlet. In its run, driven by Chris Kinsey,[6] it initially hesitated over the turntable, before driving off and immediately turning towards the right-hand route following a change of tactic by Kinsey. Roadblock drove past Sergeant Bash and dodged Matilda without difficulty, only to get itself wedged against Dead Metal and one of the spiked pyramids. However, it escaped quickly, weaving back on course and ploughing through the skittles to reach the end zone without any further interruptions.

Jeremy Clarkson: "There was a moment there, guys, I thought you weren't gonna get off the turntable. Did that go through your minds?"
Chris Kinsey: "Yeah, we were having a bit of trouble getting it straight off. Our main plan was to go over that bridge, actually. As we were steering onto it, we found a gap and went for it!"
— Post-Gauntlet run interview

Following this run, Chris Kinsey admitted to Jeremy Clarkson that Roadblock initially had issues getting off the turntable, also revealing his original intention to take the centre route and see-saw. Responding to a query addressed to him by Clarkson, Hender Blewett activated Roadblock's circular saw, adding that his team's machine was 'too damn quick' to use it against any of the patrolling House Robots. Roadblock's pioneering run was enough for it to secure third place in the results table behind Nemesis and Grunt respectively, and a comfortable place in the Trial stage.

"This time I was driving, and it wasn't as easy as it looked on TV. Shunt weighed over twice the maximum wheeled heavyweight limit, and it took all of our torque, technique and 200 yard road sign to take him out."
— Hender Blewett's first-hand account of Roadblock's Sumo run[6]

Roadblock shoves Shunt off the Sumo ring

In Sumo, Roadblock was the third of the remaining competitors to face Shunt, doing so with Hender Blewett on driving duties and with its circular saw removed.[6] It resisted Shunt's initial push and axe blows before driving away from him as he pushed it sideways. Half-way through the allotted time, Roadblock backed into Shunt, and again drove away as he pushed it back. Eventually, it got underneath Shunt's plough and shoved him off the ring, although not without driving itself off in doing so. This resulted in Roadblock again finishing third overall in the results table, therefore enabling it to qualify for the Arena stage.

"Ooh, look at this! Shunt's gone... and death by glory! They've gone too!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Roadblock sends Shunt and itself off the Sumo ring

Nemesis rams into the side Roadblock

Roadblock pushes Nemesis into Dead Metal, not shown on TV

In its Heat Semi-Final, Roadblock faced Irish entry Nemesis. Chris Kinsey and Hender Blewett swapped back to their initial roles as driver and weapons operator respectively, though Blewett revealed to Philippa Forrester in The Pits that Bodmin Community College were undecided about which blade to use on their machine's newly-refitted circular saw. The two robots approached each other in the opening seconds, before Roadblock turned round and backed into Nemesis. Its saw caused sparks to fly and caused damage to Nemesis' polka-dot fur as it pushed the latter round in circles, although not without receiving holes in one of its sides from Nemesis' retracting spike.

"...and Roadblock will use that saw, activated by Hender Blewett... and Roadblock could choke on a furball! Nemesis being ripped to shreds at this moment in time!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Roadblock's saw tears up pieces of Nemesis' fur

Roadblock lays its saw into Nemesis' fur

Roadblock proceeded to drive away from Nemesis into Matilda's CPZ, where it was lifted by the arena spikes and attacked by both Matilda and Nemesis. Eventually, it escaped, backing away from the spikes and pushing Nemesis towards the side bars. As Roadblock scooped Nemesis up a second time with its wedge, Sergeant Bash came in and rammed Nemesis against the side bars, setting fire to the latter's fur in the process. Roadblock drove away from Nemesis as it locked together with Matilda, and was declared the winner as 'Cease' was called and firefighters were brought to extinguish the fire developing on the Team Nemesis machine. Roadblock's relentless attacks had also caused Nemesis' speed controller to burn out.[6]

"We absolutely loved it. It's gone from an armchair to a three-piece suite!"
— Chris Kinsey comments on Nemesis' tattered and charred state[7]

The damage inflicted to Roadblock's side panels was further highlighted in the Robot Wars: The First Great War video release. During this time, Bodmin Community College picked up and displayed the 'souvenir' fur from Nemesis, which was placed on the top road sign for the remainder of its First Wars run.

Philippa Forrester: "Just a few seconds until you go on. How's it going?"
Chris Kinsey[7]: "Well, everything seems to be working fine, and we're looking forward to getting it out of there."
Philippa Forrester: "Tactics?"
Chris Kinsey[7]: "Straight in... straight out!"
— Chris Kinsey before the Heat Final

In the Heat Final, Roadblock faced Killertron with Hender Blewett driving once again.[6] The members of Bodmin Community College expressed a mix of confidence and apprehension going into this fight; Chris Kinsey commented on the team website that Team Trojan had cheekily marked an area on its top sign to strike their machine's pickaxe through.

"This was the final of show 1. We felt a bit of pressure at the start of the fight... well, actually we weren't really afraid of Killertron in the slightest - it only had enough electrical charge for four swings of the pickaxe! As you may have noticed there was an insulating tape cross stuck on our bonnet, which was cockily stuck there by the Killertron roboteers. So after the fight we gave it back as they looked like they needed it!"
— Chris Kinsey[6]

Roadblock survives an early axe blow from Killertron

Roadblock pushes Killertron against the side bars

In the opening seconds, Roadblock lunged straight for Killertron, withstanding a blow from the pickaxe as it turned round and attempted to line up an attack. The Cornish machine briefly got underneath Killertron, but Killertron escaped, only for Roadblock to scoop it up with the wedge and drive it against the side bars. Roadblock backed away from Sergeant Bash's CPZ as Killertron struggled to escape, before turning to face Killertron head-on. In its last attack, it scooped Killertron up again, carried and spun its pink and yellow opponent around the arena. With assistance from Dead Metal, Roadblock turned Killertron over onto its back.

Roadblock turns Killertron over to win the first Heat Final

"And Killertron's on the run – its piggyback time! They're in underneath Killertron! It's only a question of time, they know it! Killertron, will be in for the big, big flip! They're gonna flip him – noooooo, it's all over! Roadblock the winners!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Roadblock scoops and turns Killertron over

With Killertron unable to self-right, Roadblock emerged victorious, Chris Kinsey openly expressing his pleasure at defeating the 'cocky' Team Trojan in his team's post-battle interview. The Bodmin machine would become the first to advance to the Grand Final, which was broadcast at the end of Heat F.

"And into the final, from Heat 1: Roadblock, diverting all opponents to take the glory road!"
— Jonathan Pearce summarises Roadblock's performance in his run-down of the Series 1 Grand Finalists

The Grand Final fight itself saw Roadblock fight Recyclopse, Robot The Bruce, Cunning Plan, Bodyhammer and T.R.A.C.I.E., in a six-way melee to determine the first-ever UK series champion. For the final time this series, Chris Kinsey took on the responsibility of driving the Bodmin Community College machine, with Hender Blewett as 'co-driver' and responsible for team tactics. The invertible design of T.R.A.C.I.E. was quickly identified by Kinsey as Roadblock's biggest threat in this battle.[6]

"It was my job to drive Roadblock through this final event... I felt this event to be unfair as we were up against robots from the previous shows which, quite frankly, were not as big or strong as ours. TRACIE was our biggest fear in this final as our famous flipping technique would prove useless against her."
— Chris Kinsey weighs in his thoughts leading up to the Series 1 Grand Final

Roadblock intervenes as T.R.A.C.I.E. spears Recyclopse

Roadblock pushes Recyclopse

In the opening seconds, Roadblock slowly drove towards the centre of the arena as the other robots scattered, getting underneath Recyclopse as the latter was speared by T.R.A.C.I.E.. It turned round in an attempt to use its saw, but was blocked from all sides by Bodyhammer, T.R.A.C.I.E. and Robot The Bruce. Eventually, Roadblock escaped, blocking Cunning Plan as T.R.A.C.I.E. drove up the latter's wedge, with both opponents instantly becoming immobilised together as a result. It then pushed Recyclopse into a corner and across the arena – although not without interventions from Bodyhammer and Robot The Bruce – causing one of the drive chains to come loose from Rex Garrod's entry.

Roadblock turns Robot the Bruce onto its side...

...before pursuing Bodyhammer across the arena

"Roadblock still pressurising... there's the chain off Recyclopse! And that attacking by Roadblock has paid off! Recyclopse is out, we're down to three... and there's Robot The Bruce! Up on its side, and goes as well, and that leaves two!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Roadblock eliminates Recyclopse and Robot The Bruce

With Recyclopse now immobilised, Roadblock proceeded to turn Robot The Bruce onto its side and chase Bodyhammer across the arena. Eventually, it got underneath and pushed the Cold Fusion Team machine around until 'Cease' was called. The battle went to a Judges' decision, which unanimously ruled in favour of Roadblock, crowning it as the Grand Champion of the First Wars.

Jeremy Clarkson: "And a very, very well-earned one if I may be so bold. What was that like?"
Chris Kinsey: "Best time of my life, absolutely loved it!"
— Chris Kinsey's reaction as Roadblock is declared the inaugural Robot Wars UK Champion

Series 2[]

"Returning meaner and tougher, completely rebuilt in aluminium rather than steel, the circular sawblade teeth tipped with tungsten. You'll hear a police two-tone siren when it attacks; what you see are road signs on the outer shell."
— Jonathan Pearce introduces Roadblock in Series 2

Roadblock is pinned against the wall by The Sentinel

As the reigning champion and first seed, a rebuilt Roadblock returned for the Second Wars, competing in Heat G. As in the previous series, it was the first robot in that heat to traverse the Gauntlet, and immediately headed for the left-hand route, driving around the arena spike before stopping short of The Sentinel. Roadblock attempted a run past, but got pinned against the wall by The Sentinel's spiked arm, disrupting its progress. Eventually, it drove clear of The Sentinel, and made it safely to the end zone, although not without almost driving itself into the pit at one point. Having completed the course, Roadblock finished first overall on the results table, securing its place for the Trial stage.

Roadblock bulldozes through the barrels in Skittles

In the Skittles Trial, Roadblock was the first competitor to make its run. It initially started well, bulldozing through the first set of barrels and negotiating through the right-hand stacks with its wedge. After briefly hesitating, it ploughed through most of the remaining barrels before being trapped by Sir Killalot as time ran out. Roadblock attained a score of 34 skittles by the end of its run, which was soon eclipsed by Onslaught, Nemesis and Killerhurtz. This briefly put Roadblock at risk of being eliminated early, but it went through to the Arena stage regardless, as Limpet scored considerably lower during its run after blowing a speed controller.

"...and the most relieved men in the building are the Roadblock team. Champions of the last war, and only just through to the next round!"
— Philippa Forrester after the results of the Skittles Trial are revealed

Roadblock gets underneath Killerhurtz

In its Heat Semi-Final, Roadblock faced series newcomer Killerhurtz. It withstood Killerhurtz's initial charge to get underneath and push it into the PPZ, where Shunt proceeded to exchange axe blows with Killerhurtz. Roadblock turned round to use its saw on Killerhurtz, pushing it further into the PPZ and damaging one of its motors. This completely immobilised Killerhurtz, allowing the House Robots to surround it and for Dead Metal to drag the defeated Killerhurtz into the pit.

Roadblock pressures Onslaught

Roadblock progressed to the Heat Final, where it faced newcomer Onslaught. With Onslaught failing to move at all after 'Activate' was called, it simply drove around Onslaught and pushed it over the arena spike, getting lifted itself several times before backing into Sergeant Bash. Roadblock left Dead Metal and Shunt to attack the smoking Onslaught, before ramming Sergeant Bash again and being lifted against the railings as the other House Robots ganged up on it.

"...and all the Roadblock has to do now is to avoid trouble - oh look, but they're showboating now! They're taking on the House Robots, they know they're victorious! Pronged by Dead Metal... pierced by Dead Metal, but surely the winners again?"
— Jonathan Pearce as Roadblock attacks – and is attacked by – the House Robots

Dead Metal speared through Roadblock's rear saw mount with one of his pincers just before 'Cease' was called, breaking the chain for the saw's strimmer motor. Nevertheless, Roadblock emerged victorious anyway, and advanced to the Semi-Finals.

Chris Kinsey: "The only option we can fit actually down is the Sentinel route, because every other route's got some sort of width restriction. The Sentinel is... under instruction that he can do whatever he wants in there today, so..."
Hender Blewett: "Hopefully, the bucket will just be doing the old gradient sweep, but if it's going up and down, it could punch the bonnet and go through it."
— Chris Kinsey and Hender Blewett discuss the updated Gauntlet course and Sentinel

Roadblock attacks The Sentinel with its saw

In Semi-Final 2, Roadblock was the first Semi-Finalist to attempt the revised Gauntlet course. As in its heat, it turned round to take the left-hand route, but was immediately blocked by The Sentinel, before turning round and damaging The Sentinel's arm with its saw. Roadblock attempted to get under The Sentinel, only to be pinned under its arm and causing more sparks to fly with the saw as 'Cease' was called. It covered a distance of only 5.45m during its run, although this was still enough for it to finish third overall in the results table, and to qualify for the Pinball Trial.

"This should be good fun. This game is probably the best game I've ever seen. It's gonna be a good laugh."
— Hender Blewett before Roadblock's Pinball run

Roadblock heads towards the barrels

Roadblock during its Pinball run

In Pinball, Roadblock was the first competitor to compete, and started its run by driving past the see-saw and demolishing the right-hand walls of bricks and barrels. It then pushed the sphere across the arena and brought down the left-hand bricks, scoring more points as the sphere rolled into one of the pits. Roadblock swept past Matilda to hit the 50-point target, with Matilda reversing into another pit while attempting to stop it. It then knocked down more sets of barrels and bricks, before getting blocked by Dead Metal and lifted by Sir Killalot. Roadblock escaped, knocking down more bricks and barrels as Shunt rammed it against the wall. 'Cease' was called, with Roadblock having scored a total of 355 points, enough for it to finish first overall in the Pinball Trial by a comfortable margin.

Roadblock is pushed back by King Buxton

Roadblock cuts into King Buxton

This performance was enough for Roadblock to advance to the Arena stage, where it fought newcomer King Buxton for a place in the Grand Final. It chased King Buxton and got underneath it as the latter attempted to dodge, with King Buxton driving over Roadblock's wedge a couple of times before ramming it side-on. Roadblock responded by pushing King Buxton and blocking it as it drove into and attempted to escape from Dead Metal, before slicing into one of King Buxton's wheels with its saw. The two robots drove alongside and bumped into each other again, with Roadblock being pushed into the PPZ by King Buxton, where it was attacked by Shunt and Dead Metal. Roadblock escaped, and got underneath King Buxton once again as it attempted to push Roadblock from the side. With King Buxton on the arena spike, Roadblock sliced into its front again, before pushing King Buxton back as it started smoking and caught fire. Roadblock finished the battle by cutting through one of King Buxton's tyres with the saw before allowing it to be thrust by the arena spikes. As a result of this victory, it progressed to the Grand Final once again.

Craig Charles: "Well that circular saw of yours is quite nasty, isn't it?"
Hender Blewett: "Aye, it’s pretty good, well we're very impressed with it!"
Craig Charles: "You seriously bashed King Buxton. Scratches, you sawed the wheels in half..."
Craig Charles and Hender Blewett discuss Roadblock's circular saw after the Semi-Final battle with King Buxton

Roadblock carries Cassius around the arena

In its Grand Final Eliminator, Roadblock was drawn against the fifth seed Cassius in a rematch from the Series 1 Grand Final, where Roadblock had fought Cassius' predecessor, Recyclopse. At the start, both robots rammed head-on into each other, with Roadblock getting underneath Cassius and eventually pushing it into the PPZ. Matilda attacked Cassius as Roadblock drove further underneath it, before Roadblock pushed it across the arena, getting caught by Dead Metal's pincers in the process. Roadblock escaped, bumping into the swinging mace and causing Cassius' wedge to tear into the floor as it continued pushing the latter round. Before long, Cassius swerved off Roadblock's wedge and darted into Sir Killalot, getting lifted over in the process.

"Oh, look at this, top of your picture! Roadblock, meanwhile, has gone into the PPZ, it's in trouble..."
— Jonathan Pearce as Roadblock falls foul of the House Robots

Cassius flips Roadblock against the railings

As Cassius self-righted, Roadblock became trapped in the PPZ by Shunt and Dead Metal, allowing Cassius to get underneath and flip it against the railings. With Roadblock unable to self-right, it was dragged by Sir Killalot's lance and flipped onto its back in the middle of the arena, before sustaining more attacks from him and the other House Robots. Cassius intervened, slamming into Sir Killalot and nudging Roadblock into the corner of the PPZ before 'Cease' was called. Following this defeat, Roadblock's reign as the UK champion came to an end, with Bodmin Community College later discovering that Cassius' initial slam had dislodged one of the plugs and sockets connecting its batteries.

Peter Kinsey: "You're only as good as the weakest part... and that feeling was it today. Just one small plug and socket..."
Hender Blewett: "Cassius has beaten the lot."
Peter Kinsey: "...but we're ready to go again."
— Bodmin Community College after Roadblock's defeat to Cassius

Despite losing its UK title, Roadblock was given the opportunity to fight again in the playoff, where it faced the fourth seed Killertron in a battle for third place. This was the second time the two robots had fought each other, with the playoff being billed as a rematch of their Heat Final encounter in Series 1.

"Roadblock and Killertron, no strangers to each other. This, a repeat of a battle in the First Wars..."
— Jonathan Pearce just before the playoff commences

Roadblock and Killertron are surrounded by the House Robots

At the start, Roadblock immediately scooped Killertron up with its wedge, before pushing it towards the PPZ. Killertron drove away to avoid contact with Sergeant Bash and Matilda, but Roadblock soon got underneath and pushed Killertron back into the PPZ, cutting through its plastic shell with the saw. Killertron hooked itself against the wall with its axe, allowing Matilda to come in and lift it with her tusks as Roadblock got underneath again. The two robots escaped the PPZ, with Roadblock again pushing Killertron around and causing damage with the saw as it pushed Killertron underneath The Sentinel. Scooping under Killertron again, Roadblock was briefly pinned between Dead Metal and Sir Killalot, but escaped from the PPZ to push Killertron against the wall and the mace, only to get itself attacked by the House Robots again in the process.

"Very tight so far, isn't it? Very close. This is going to be a difficult one for the Judges."
— Jonathan Pearce on the playoff so far

Roadblock pits Killertron

Eventually, Roadblock escaped to push Killertron against the angle grinders, and pitted it after the latter was dragged by Dead Metal. 'Cease' was called, and Roadblock finished third in the Second Wars as a result of this victory. This battle proved to be its final appearance in Robot Wars, as Bodmin Community College returned for the Third Wars with its successor, Beast of Bodmin.

Peter Kinsey: "We thoroughly enjoyed this. It's been a valuable experience in all departments. It's been really good."
Chris Kinsey: "We've met loads of people that we know we can have a great time with, and it’s been brilliant!"
— Bodmin Community College share their views on their Robot Wars experience with Philippa Forrester

Results[]

ROADBLOCK - RESULTS
Series 1
The First Wars - UK Championship
Champion
Heat A, Gauntlet Completed (3rd) Qualified
Heat A, Trial (Sumo) Survived (3rd) Qualified
Heat A, Semi-Final vs. Nemesis Won
Heat A, Final vs. Killertron Won
Grand Final vs. Bodyhammer, Cunning Plan, Recyclopse,
Robot The Bruce, T.R.A.C.I.E.
Won
Series 2
The Second Wars - UK Championship
1st Seed, Third Place
Heat G, Gauntlet Completed (1st) Qualified
Heat G, Trial (Skittles) 34 barrels (4th) Qualified
Heat G, Semi-Final vs. Killerhurtz Won
Heat G, Final vs. Onslaught Won
Semi-Final 2, Gauntlet 5.45m (3rd) Qualified
Semi-Final 2, Trial (Pinball) 355pts (1st) Qualified
Semi-Final 2, Arena vs. King Buxton Won
Grand Final, Eliminator vs. Cassius (5) Lost
Grand Final, Playoff vs. Killertron (4) Won

Wins/Losses[]

  • Wins: 7
  • Losses: 1

NOTE: Roadblock's Gauntlet and Trial runs are not included

Series Record[]

Series Roadblock Series Record
The First Wars Grand Champion
The Second Wars Third Place
The Third Wars Entered with Beast of Bodmin
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

Gallery[]

Appearances in Merchandise[]

Main article: Roadblock (Arenas of Destruction)

An unused texture of Roadblock's side armour in Arenas of Destruction

Although Roadblock was never made into a toy or included in a video game, it was originally included as a prototype robot in Robot Wars: Arenas of Destruction. Whilst the prototype robot itself does not resemble the competitor Roadblock strongly at all, the textures for Roadblock's side armour and front wedge can be found in the game.

Roadblock was included in most official Robot Wars books released, despite often being one of the only retired robots in the guides, alongside Mortis.

Outside Robot Wars[]

Road Bump

The team in 2021 emulating their 1997 trophy stance

The team with Roadblock in June 2021

In 2018, Hender Blewett gave permission for featherweight roboteer Daniel Booth to build a one-third scale featherweight in homage to Roadblock, using the name Road Bump. Coated in 4mm HARDOX armour with 20mm HDPE sides, Road Bump uses Roadblock's original wedge design, with an optional circular saw being usable at the rear. Road Bump debuted at Extreme Robots in Manchester, in April 2018, and competed at one more event under its original team, before being sold on.

The Bodmin Community College team reunited in June 2021 and shared a modern day photo of themselves with their Series 1 trophy, also emulating their stance from when they first won the series. They also showcased Roadblock in its current state, which is now mounted on the Kinsey family's garden fence.

Trivia[]

  • Roadblock was originally given the name Road Rage, and was once referred to as such during a video diary shown in The Making of Robot Wars. However, this was changed at the request of the BBC before filming took place, as a lot of reported road rage incidents had occurred around the time of Series 1's production.[2] Draven, originally called Anthrax, later faced a similar issue when it competed in the first series of Robot Wars Extreme.
  • Roadblock was the first contestant robot to appear on Robot Wars.
    • As a result, Roadblock became the first to collect a number of accolades, such as being the first to win a battle (against Nemesis in Heat A of Series 1) and the first to win a heat.
  • As well as winning the First Wars, Hender Blewitt received an A grade for his A-Level project.
  • Roadblock is one of twenty-three robots to have completed The Gauntlet.
    • Along with Dreadnaut, Mortis and Nemesis, it is one of four robots to have completed the Gauntlet twice.
    • Roadblock was also the first robot ever to attempt and complete the Gauntlet, and in all of its appearances was the first in its heat/Semi-Final to attempt it.
  • Roadblock is one of only two UK Grand Champions to have never failed to reach the Grand Final despite entering more than one series, the other being Carbide.
  • Presumably due to its status as the first UK champion, Roadblock was profiled in Robot Wars: The Ultimate Guide, despite retiring four series before the book's release (one of only two robots in said book to be profiled that did not compete in Extreme 1 or Series 5, the other being Mortis). For unknown reasons, the guide makes no mention of its successor, Beast of Bodmin, in its battle history.
  • Roadblock is one of only seven robots to achieve a score of 200 points or higher in a Pinball trial or side competition. The others to have achieved this are Gemini, Killerhurtz, Spawn of Scutter, Panic Attack, King B3 and Razer.
    • With 355 points, Roadblock was also the highest-scoring robot in any Pinball trial/competition.
  • Roadblock and Tornado are the only third-place finishers so far not to lose to the eventual Grand Champion.
  • Roadblock is one of only three Grand Champions so far never to have faced another Grand Champion (although it did fight Team Chaos in the first Grand Final, it was against Robot the Bruce and not the Series 3 & 4 champion Chaos 2). The others are Panic Attack and Typhoon 2.
  • Roadblock had the lowest amount of losses out of all of the Grand Champions, joint with Typhoon 2, as both have only one loss. As Typhoon 2 withdrew from the Third World Championship, Roadblock arguably holds the record by itself.
    • Roadblock and Typhoon 2 are the only two former Grand Champions never to have lost their final battles, when the latter's withdrawal from The Third World Championship is discounted, although this also applies to the reigning champion Eruption.

Honours[]


Honour
First ever robot to complete The Gauntlet
Honour
Highest Pinball score


References[]

External Links[]

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