Team Conker were a Yorkshire-based team who competed in the reboot of Robot Wars. They competed in Series 9 and 10 with the clusterbot Crackers 'n' Smash, carrying years of experience from the live circuit over the show's time off-air.
- "The team of Crackers 'n' Smash, not fanatics who want to win, for them, Robot Wars is more about the enjoyment of designing and creating something - the charity of human spirit!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
The team adopted the name Team Conker, in homage to the Conker series of featherweight robots built by the team. On the live circuit, the team have also used the name Team Eventorizon, particularly when Ian and Alex Botwright compete separately.
- "Team Captain Alex has aspired to winning Robot Wars since he was six years old. He has always loved to build things and once designed a go-kart/bathtub hybrid."
- — The Robot Wars website on Team Conker in Series 9
Team Conker is led by the North Yorkshire-based father-and-son duo, Ian and Alex Botwright. In Series 9, 25-year old interactives engineer Alex Botwright captained the team, having been the lead designer of Crackers 'n' Smash. Alex Botwright drove Smash in battle for both series, and was partially responsible for many tactical descisions made by the team, such as the removal of Crackers 'n' Smash's weaponry ahead of their fight with Carbide. Alex Botwright relinquished his role as captain in Series 10, offering more spotlight to his father.
- "Entering Robot Wars was a childhood dream... and now I'm about to become your worst nightmare"
- — Alex Botwright in Series 9
55-year old father Ian Botwright took on the mantle of captain in Series 10, and gained the lead speaking role for the series. Ian Botwright co-designed Crackers 'n' Smash and was integral with their repairs. By profession, Ian Botwright is a maths and science consultant, allowing him to incorporate STEM and robotics into education, and now also runs bimonthly featherweight live events following the cancellation of Robot Wars. During Series 10, Dara Ó Briain touched on Ian Botwright's hobbies as a musician and band member.
- Dara Ó Briain: "Division here, between a lifter and a spinner. Almost like, in your other part of your life, where you're both a classical musician and a rock musician!"
- Ian Botwright: "Yes, I played with Harrogate Symphony Orchestra, and I play with a band in Ripon as well, on guitar!"
- Dara Ó Briain: "Are you both a tea man, and a coffee man?"
- Ian Botwright: "You've gotta have variety, so we like to do both!"
- — Dara Ó Briain on Ian Botwright's hobbies
During the filming of Series 9, Ian Botwright suffered an accident in the entrance gates to the Robot Wars Arena, falling into the 'trench' surrounding the arena gates. This accident was the reason that handrail barriers were added to the entrance gates surrounding the arena in Series 10.
Notably, during the battle between Crackers 'n' Smash, Eruption and Aftershock in Series 10, Ian Botwright insisted that all robots in the arena needed to stop fighting due to Aftershock damaging the arena flipper. Ian Botwright managed to convince Team Shock to stop driving Aftershock, which led to Eruption throwing it out of the arena. Although Ian Thomas initially blamed Ian Botwright for his defeat, the honest mistake was quickly forgiven.
Team Conker were also joined by Dave Weston for all of their appearances on Robot Wars. The 30-year old electronics engineer drove Crackers in battle, and was also highly involved with repairing not only his own robots, but also other machines such as Chompalot. Away from Robot Wars, Dave Weston is the captain of Team Hell, and become linked to Team Conker by competing at many of the same featherweight events, later helping Team Conker to run their own live events. In all appearances, he wore spiked gloves.
In Series 9, the fourth member of the team was 28-year old CNC fabrication business owner Keith Brown, who assisted with the process of designing the robots via CAD, and was the team's lead machinist. At the team's Robodojo events, Keith Brown rents the allotment used as the venue (also used for Crackers 'n' Smash's VT in Series 9), and assists with the setup of the event. For unclear reasons, Keith Brown did not return to Series 10 as part of Team Conker.
In Series 10, printing engineer Mike Sweeney took the place of Keith Brown, assisting with the electronics and 3D aspects of Crackers 'n' Smash. Having not been present for the team's official photograph, Mike Sweeney received a non-speaking role in the series.
|Crackers 'n' Smash||Heavyweight||Series 9-10|
- Wins: 2
- Losses: 4
|Series||Team Conker Series Record|
|Series 1-7||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Withdrew with Crackers 'n' Smash|
|Series 9||Heat Round 2, Third Place with Crackers 'n' Smash|
|Series 10||Heat, Round 1 with Crackers 'n' Smash|
Outside Robot Wars
For more information on the performance of Crackers 'n' Smash outside of Robot Wars, see here.
Team Conker / Eventorizon
From late 2018 onwards, Team Conker started to run bimonthly featherweight events in Sherburn-in-Elmet under the name of Robodojo. This went on to comprise a yearly circuit, consisting of bimonthly events with full combat and sportsman divisions. Robodojo would also host the 2019 UK Featherweight Championship in August.
As competitors, Alex and Ian Botwright have also competed with featherweights on the live events circuit with a number of machines. They have competed with three versions of Conker, all four-wheel drive robots with vertical spinning weapons; Conker and Conker 2 are armed with flywheels, while Conker 3 featured an egg beater spinner. In 2016, Conker 3 won the Insomnia 58 featherweight championship, beating Drumroll in the final after throwing it out of the arena. After not being fully constructed on time, it found less success at the 2018 event, which was hosted by King of Bots, driving into the pit intentionally against Get Shrekt. However, Conker 3 would eventually score one knockout victory against Legion and Barghest, throwing the former out of the arena in the process. Conker 3 scored a total of six points by the end of the qualification rounds, although this was not enough for it to secure a place in the knockout round. Conker 3 competed at the Robodojo Autumn Featherweight Championship but sustained significant damage from the vertical spinner of Aegis Mk II and did not compete throughout 2019. Conker 3 returned to the arena in July 2020, filling into Robodojo as a reserve where it won all three of its fights, causing a battery fire during its destructive win against Bish Bash Bosh. Conker 3 competed in the full competition for September 2020, winning all of its fights bar two losses to Explosion, finishing in fourth place.
Team Eventorizon also compete with Binky (not to be confused with the Series 3 competitor of the same name) which is armed with a vertical flywheel. Binky also competed at the event in 2018 with success, including a melee win by knockout over Microswitch and Broadax 2 in less than a minute, and a melee victory over Neon and Mini ACE. Binky scored enough points to qualify for the knockout round, winning over Sabre20 after causing substantial damage to the latter's armour before the latter pitted itself. In a battle of vertical spinners, Binky prevailed over Get Shrekt to reach the Quarter-Finals, but was defeated there by Amnesia after its weapon malfunctioned, preventing it from self-righting after a crucial flip from the Team Immersion machine. However, Binky did finish third within the 18-way Gladiator battle held just before the final.
At the team's own event in November 2018, the Robodojo Autumn Featherweight Championship, Binky emerged as the champion of the full combat event. At the January 2019 Robodojo event, Binky only fought in whiteboard battles, causing significant damage to Barróg, while Binky entered the main competition in March 2019, but lost its three battles. Binky entered the sportsman division of the May 2019 Robodojo event, without the use of its spinning disc, replacing the withdrawal Scrapster. It entered the full combat division in July 2019, throwing both Plastic Fantastic and Graffiti out of the arena to collect two wins, but was also thrown out of the arena by X-303 and Disturbance. Binky returned for the FRA UK Featherweight Championship 2019, but without any great success, losing to Satanix, Pressure Point Mk II and Toothless. Binky also fought at Robodojo in July 2020 as a reserve, winning its three fights, then went undefeated in the league stages of the September 2020 event, only being defeated in the final by Captain Jack Spinnah.
Team Eventorizon also created a featherweight crusher named Mitternacht, with its gripping weapon being powered by a linear actuator. It competed at the Robodojo January 2019 event in the Sportsman division, filling in for another robot which was overweight, and finished in fifth place. Mitternacht also competed at the March 2019 Robodojo event under the controls of Alasdair Sutherland, and went undefeated in its four head-to-head Sportsman fights, but was the first to fall in the four-way Grand Final. Mitternacht finished with an even record at Robodojo in July 2019, defeating Danger UXB and Ensign Wedgeley Crusher, but losing to Gengar and BOB 3 in the sportsman class. Mitternacht found its greatest success at the FRA UK Featherweight Championship in August 2019, where it achieved second place in its Heat out of six, defeating Nigel Barrage, Forge Master 2 and Crabsolutely Clawful, only suffering a loss by split decision to Luna-Tic and a loss to Barróg Doom. Despite qualifying for the Top 16, Mitternacht withdrew from its battle against Amnesia after burning out its speed controller in testing before the battle.
The team also own a featherweight robot with an axe, named Mattock, which like Mitternacht, is often loaned to teams at Robodojo who could not compete with their own machines. Mattock won the Sportsman competition at the January 2020 Robodojo under the controls of Theo Beech, who also drove it to fourth place in July 2020 after winning a tiebreaker against Bread Dead Redemption by axing directly through its removable link. Mattock competed again in September 2020, but under a different driver and collected mixed results.
Team member David Weston also fights in live events, primarily with featherweights and antweights, under the name Team Hell. His featherweights are Hell's Angel (built in 2007), which is a black box-shaped featherweight armed with an axe and Satanix, a two-wheel driven ramming robot with two front wedge prongs and rear-mounted ramming spikes, later upgraded to become Satanix 1.666. When not directly competing, David Weston will instead manage the operations and safety of live events such as Robodojo and heavyweight competitions.
Hell's Angel competed at the 2018 King of Bots UK featherweight championship, winning all three of its qualifying melees, defeating Hedgebot twice, as well as Aegis Mk II, Wipeout and Microswitch. Within the Top 20, Hell's Angel fought Shrapnel, but lost its entire front end, and feigned immobility in order to escape the battle without further damage. Hell's Angel then withdrew prior to its losers' melee, which was ultimately won by DB12. Despite lacking an active weapon - required for it to fight in the main competition - Satanix 1.666 also attended the King of Bots UK event under its original name, fighting in two whiteboard battles and the 18-way 'Gladiator' battle. Satanix would later perform well at the Robodojo Autumn Featherweight Championship, collecting two dominant victories in its first two Full Combat fights. Satanix also competed at Robodojo in July 2019 in the sportsman division, gathering three wins over Crota, Parasite and Stabby McUnicornface, but drove out of the arena against Midas, and in the subsequent third place rumble.
Satanix competed in the main bracket at the FRA UK Featherweight Championship in August 2019, with success. It escaped its Heat in second place, most notably defeating Binky. In the Top 16, Satanix won its next fight against Get Shrekt and then earned a victory over Push-Abili-Tilly in the quarter-finals. However, Satanix was not able to be repaired in time for its semi-final match, and forfeited its place in the competition back to Push-Abili-Tilly.
In 2009, David Weston was also involved in the build of a joint team project of Team Hell, Team Die Gracefully Robotics and Team Godzilla where they built Cabrakan, a two-wheel driven robot armed with a stabbing chisel which won the Best Promising Newcomer Award at the end of the year. At the start of 2010, Weston managed to acquire Cabrakan and built a new version of it for the UK Championships, known as Cabrakan 2. This version had a front-mounted lifter, similar to that of the original Morgue, but this version suffered from build issues and did not enjoy much success.
Team Hell also fight with the following antweights:
- Baby Hell, an antweight version of Hell's Angel armed with an axe.
- F.I.N. (standing for Four Inch Nails), a full-body antweight thwackbot which gets its name from the four-inch nails used as attachments.
- Stewie, an antweight armed with a flipper and named after Stewie Griffin, a main character from the American animated television series Family Guy.
- Headbanger, a beetleweight armed with an electric axe.
David Weston created a black antweight version of Killertron called Kill-A-Chav in 2012 and was built mainly for display purposes. However, it was lent to Ceri R Jenkins for AWS 38 where it lost both its fights. Kill-A-Chav also competed in a few antweight competitions such as Ant Freeze. Kill-A-Chav still makes regular appearances in the Extreme Robots live events, albeit on an antweight display where audiences could play around with a select few number of antweights, one of which is Kill-A-Chav.
David Weston competed in the online web-series Bugglebots in 2019, driving one half of the clusterbot WeeWoo. Although WeeWoo lost both of its competition fights to Drizzle and Jay, David Weston was able to drive his half of the clusterbot 'Woo' to second place in the ten-way Dung Beetle Melee at the end of the series. In August 2021, it was announced that Dave Weston would join up with the Pardon My French team for Season 6 of Battlebots.
- The team's featherweight robot Conker 3 made a cameo appearance in the opening titles of Series 8, destroying a computer monitor. This was footage from the Crackers 'n' Smash VT made for Series 8, which otherwise went unused after the team withdrew.
- Despite team members David Weston and Will Sweeney being present at the filming of Series 10, they were not included in Crackers 'n' Smash's official team photograph.