"It’s the one we’ve been waiting for: the second Robot Wars semi-final. And the war has been a tremendous success: some say it’s the nation’s greatest triumph since Bucks Fizz made their mind up in 1981. Others have said it does for robots what plastic surgery’s done for Michael Jackson: made them cut up and battered. And others have simply said it’s better than the series on arts and crafts on the other side. After some serious heavy metal combat, only the most fearsome of robots have made it this far."
— Craig Charles' introduction
Semi-Final 2 of Robot Wars: The Second Wars was the second of two Semi-Finals to determine which two of six heat winners would proceed to the Grand Final of Robot Wars: The Second Wars. As usual, a Gauntlet would eliminate one robot, while the Trial (Pinball) would eliminate another. The remaining robots would pair off and fight to determine which two robots moved on to the Grand Final.
The episode featuring Semi-Final 2 was originally broadcast on February 26, 1999 on BBC Two. The broadcast set a new Robot Wars ratings record, attracting 6.21 million viewers, an increase of 80,000 viewers when compared with the previous record holder. According to BARB this meant it ranked second in the top thirty highest rated BBC 2 broadcasts during 22-28 February, behind only Red Dwarf.
Team Members: Mike Onslow, Bryan Kilburn & Ken Burt
Left route: The Sentinel, Matilda and one pit.
Centre route: Static ramp, The Sentinel, breezeblocks, pit, Shunt
Right route: Ramrig, flame pit, and Dead Metal
Competing order: 1. Roadblock 2. Cassius 3. King Buxton 4. G.B.H. 5. Plunderbird 2 6. Haardvark
King Buxton easily smashed through the blocks, before Shunt drove into the pit, giving King B a clear run through to Matilda. King Buxton smashed its way past Matilda and reached the endzone in a very impressive time.
G.B.H. took the centre route, slowly drove through the blocks, and then directly into the pit. In their interview with Craig, the team originally came up with an excuse but then admitted that it had been an intentional tactic.
Because of the robot's width, Roadblock took the Sentinel route and attacked the Sentinel with its spinning disc, but it was unable to get past and remained stranded there for the rest of the run.
"My money's on Rex."
— Peter Kinsey makes predictions after Roadblock's disappointing Gauntlet run
Cassius took the centre route, crashing through the blocks at the second attempt. It pushed the ball into the pit, but was pushed back by Shunt and attacked by the axe of the house robot. Cassius escaped but was pinned by Dead Metal before cease was called.
Haardvark took the centre route, also crashing through the blocks at the second attempt. It was then blocked by the ball and pushed away by Matilda, so it switched to the Sentinel route. It was blocked by the Sentinel and followed by Matilda, who pulled Haardvark back towards the start of the course.
Plunderbird 2 struggled to push its way through the blocks and tried to push Shunt back, but together Shunt and Matilda forced it all the way back to the start of the course, where it remained stranded until cease was called.
Roadblock started by knocking over the five-point blocks, then pushed the ball but it missed the pit. The ball eventually rolled into the pit and Roadblock hit the 50-point target as Matilda drove into another pit. It then knocked over several barrels and more blocks, but was attacked and tipped over by Sir Killalot. Roadblock escaped and knocked over a few more blocks and barrels before cease was called.
Cassius started by knocking over several blocks and barrels, but then got stuck on top of the blocks and was picked up by Sir Killalot. It was dumped upside-down by Sir Killalot, but used its lifting arm to right itself (the first successful use of a self-righting mechanism on Robot Wars). It then knocked over several more blocks and barrels, but one of the drive chains had been damaged and cease was called.
King Buxton started with the blocks and barrels then drove over the see-saw ramp and back again. It then knocked over more blocks and barrels and avoided the clutches of Sir Killalot. Finally, it attempted to reach one of the 50-point targets but Matilda was able to successfully defend it.
Haardvark started with two sets of blocks and barrels, but was then picked up by Sir Killalot and dropped onto its side, where it was left stranded and cease was called.
G.B.H. very slowly knocked over a few blocks and barrels before pushing the ball into one of the pits. It knocked over several more blocks and barrels but was picked up by Sir Killalot and pitted. G.B.H. wasn't awarded the fifteen points for going over the ramp as it had been carried over the ramp by Sir Killalot, but if it had, it would have made G.B.H level with Haardvark.
Cassius (5) vs Haardvark
"Cassius has taken over the mantle of Robot Wars favourite after the demise of Mortis"
— Jonathan Pearce
Haardvark had a problem before it went out into battle - the team's electronics engineer had been called away and the robot could only go in reverse. Cassius (the new competition favourite since the demise of Mortis) flipped Haardvark onto its side and then pressed it into the PPZ. Haardvark took punishment from Shunt but managed to escape and push Cassius into Sir Killalot. The chain came off Cassius but it still seemed mobile. Sir Killalot
picked up Haardvark despite the fact Haardvark was not in the PPZ and Cassius was. Haardvark was dumped over the flame pit while Cassius, having won the battle, attacked Sir Killalot and almost flipped him.
Roadblock (1) vs King Buxton
King Buxton drove at Roadblock but couldn't do anything because it couldn't get under Roadblock's scoop at the front, and then drove straight into Dead Metal. Roadblock attacked with its circular saw and sent sparks flying but King Buxton escaped. King Buxton got round the back of Roadblock and managed to push it into the PPZ where Shunt and Dead Metal caused it minor damage. Roadblock got away and drove right under King Buxton and forced it onto the arena spikes. King Buxton started smoking, and Roadblock's saw cut into its tyres.
"You seriously bashed King Buxton! Scratches, you sawed the wheels in half..."
— Craig Charles
"The winners of our last war, are through to our final, the only thing I can say is, cue the applause, you've been watching, Robot Wars!"
— Craig Charles' sign-off
This was the only ever Semi-Final where the only two seeds in the line-up went through to the Grand Final.
This was the last time The Gauntlet was run, and the last time the second round of the show was a Trial.