- "I need to get in that arena and I need to rip stuff apart, and I can't really explain why!"
- — Will Thomas
Team Shock are a team from Reading who competed in Series 8, 9 and 10 of Robot Wars. They are notable for reaching the Grand Final in each of the first two series of the reboot with two separate machines, Shockwave and Aftershock.
- Angela Scanlon: "You're a teacher, you'd expect them to be upholding citizens"
- Will Thomas: "In the classroom, yeah! In the arena, it's all go-for-it, I'm a complete monster in there!"
- — Will Thomas compares daily life to Robot Wars
The team consists of a father-and-son team, captained by Will Thomas, a Design Technology Teacher who also designed and drove each of their robots. His father Ian, a marketer, worked as the mechanic and the robot builder. Away from the TV show, Team Shock occasionally includes Lynn Thomas, mother to Will and wife to Ian, and Emma Thomas, wife to Will Thomas.
Team Shock first debuted in Series 8 of Robot Wars with their entry Shockwave, an invertible, four-wheel drive robot armed with a 360-degree rotating lifter with scoop attachments. Shockwave performed well, reaching the Grand Final in its only appearance before taking massive damage from Carbide and being eliminated at the Group Battle stage. Team Shock then returned to Series 9 with a new robot, Aftershock, a vertical spinner which qualified out of its heat without losing a single battle, finishing fourth overall. Aftershock also returned for Series 10, but was eliminated in its heat after losing its Semi-Final and Third Place Playoff.
Although Team Shock only got involved in the main competition for the first time in 2016, they are widely known by the roboteering community for their other two robots; Manta and Maelstrom, which have both done very well in the live event circuit during the 12 year hiatus of Robot Wars, including the rebranded Robot Wars Live Events, despite them not being selected to compete on television. Manta did, however, make a cameo appearance in Heat 2 of Series 8, on Team Shock's workbench in their VT.
In Series 8, Will Thomas became injured on-set after dropping Shockwave onto his finger. He required medical attention in a local A&E, leaving Ian Thomas to repair the robot alone. Will returned to the studio two hours later, and reprised his role as driver.
- Dara Ó Briain: "Can you drive with two fingers immobilised?"
- Will Thomas: "Yeah, the thumbs are OK, that's the main bit!"
- — The importance of Will's injury
Battle of the Stars
Will Thomas was specifically chosen to be a mentor in Robot Wars: Battle of the Stars. He appeared in Episode 2, mentoring archaeologist, historian, author and presenter Neil Oliver, and his two sons. Thomas helped the celebrity compete with a robot of his sons' design, Soldier Ant, and repaired the robot when necessary. At the end of the episode, Will Thomas invited Archie and Teddy Oliver to join Team Shock, although they would not return to Robot Wars.
As a teacher at Collingwood College, Will Thomas ran a 'Robot Wars Club' at the school, and encouraged his students to design a robot to participate in Series 10 of the show. His students formed the Collingwood Carnage team, also known as Team Track-tion, and built their robot Track-tion with assistance from Will Thomas. Included in Collingwood Carnage were 13-year old Dan and Anna, and 12-year old Marcus and Ben, and Will Thomas accompanied them at filming. Track-tion progressed further into the competition than Aftershock itself, qualifying for the 10 Robot Rumble by resisting the spinner of Apex, and then progressing over the late withdrawal Vulture.
- Wins: 11
- Losses: 8
- NOTE 1: Soldier Ant's wins and losses in Battle of the Stars are not included
- NOTE 2: Track-tion, entered by Collingwood Carnage, is considered to be a separate team
|Series||Team Shock Series Record|
|Series 1-7||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Grand Final, Round 1 with Shockwave|
Not selected with Manta and Maelstrom
|Series 9||Fourth Place with Aftershock|
Battle of the Stars, Third Place with Soldier Ant
|Series 10||Heat, Fourth Place with Aftershock|
Heat, Third Place with Track-tion (Collingwood Carnage)
Outside Robot Wars
Team Shock have competed in live events hosted by Roaming Robots & Robots Live! since 2007. The team first of all started competing with featherweights. Near late 2008, they purchased Robot Wars Competitor, St. Agro and it has since been rebuilt and renamed to Maelstrom. Under Team Shock's wing, it performed very well in live events reaching the final of the 2009 UK Championship losing to Terrorhurtz and also finishing runner-up in the 2012 UK Championship to Big Nipper after the team had fully rebuilt the robot.
In 2013, the team built Manta which has done well in major competitions. It finished runner-up in the 2013, 2016 & 2018 UK Championship, finished runner-up to Toxic 2 in the European Championship, finished 3rd in the 2014 UK Championship and won the 2017 UK Championship.
In April 2016, the team also purchased White Knight (formerly Iron-Awe 3) from Team Wind-Power before rebranding it to Earthquake. It briefly competed on the live circuit in this form, painted orange, before promptly being retired. Team Shock would also apply for the second season of Battlebots with Aftershock in the same year, but were ultimately rejected. In 2018, Team Shock debuted a new version of Earthquake at the Robots Live! event in Burgess Hill, which was now armed with a front-hinged flipper. The team sold the chassis on eBay in June 2020, in the form of a table. Later that month, the team acquired the heavyweight Roobarb and intended to restore it to fighting condition again, though these plans soon proved to be unviable.
As a replacement for the second Earthquake, Team Shock built another heavyweight with a low-pressure, rear-hinged flipper named Tectonic, borrowing many of its components from Roobarb including the flipper system. Completed in late 2021, Tectonic made its combat debut at the Robots Live! Crawley event that October, competing alongside an updated Manta. Despite encountering issues with its pneumatics system, it would achieve its first victory against Behemoth and throw multiple opponents out of the arena throughout the course of the event. Tectonic also competed in Birmingham in May 2022 and suffered a number of technical faults on its first day of competition, but found more success on its second day, including a win over Reaper.
Also in 2021, the team applied for that year's season of BattleBots with an unknown new machine, but withdrew from the applications process due to time and funding concerns.
In December 2021, Will Thomas acquired Sting 2 and S3 after he had spoken to the 1 Law Associates, having them be delivered from the Enginuity museum where the two robots were previously on display. Will has stated that he will be using Sting 2 and S3 for teaching aids.
In addition to their heavyweights, Team Shock have competed with various featherweight robots over the years, these are listed below.
- 4 Baa 4: Built by Team Lambsy originally, the team bought it from them in 2007. However, Team Shock were unsuccessful with it so it was sold again to Team Toon.
- Aftershock: Not to be confused with the team's heavyweight Aftershock, this was previously an upgraded version of Cutlet, before being purchased by Team Shock in 2007. During the times it has been rebuilt it has performed well in events, winning the Roaming Robots 2008 Winter Tour and finishing runner-up to Beauty 2 in the 2009 UK Championships.
- Avalanche: A silver wedge-shaped low pressure flipper.
- Earthquake: Not to be confused with the team's heavyweight Earthquake, a black wedge-shaped robot armed with a blue flipping arm.
- Hammerhead: A small two-wheel driven featherweight armed with an electric hammer.
- Heatwave: A silver wedge-shaped robot armed with a full pressure rear hinged flipper. Winner of the 2009 Winter Tour and 2016 Guildford featherweight trophy. Remains an active competitor with live appearances in 2022.
- Inertia XL: A two-wheeled driven featherweight armed with a vertical spinning disc. Achieved 3rd place in the 2011 UK Featherweight Championships, but was recently sold. However it was later rebuilt in June 2021.
- Shockwave: Not to be confused with the team's heavyweight Shockwave, this is a clear polycarbonate-armoured wedge-shaped robot armed with a low-pressure flipper which the team claimed could flip a featherweight out of a heavyweight arena. This robot was since sold to Glasgow-based roboteer, Tony Smith, and later to Matthew Pearman, with the chassis residing with Team Immersion with the intent of loaning it to new roboteers in need of a testing bed.
- Stingray: A navy-blue, 2-wheel drive, HARDOX wedge-shaped robot with a static chain-flail tail. Sold to Team Immersion with its armour later being used to construct Amnesia.
- Swordfish: A 2 wheel driven axlebot made from HDPE.
- Tidal Wave 2: A black wedge-shaped featherweight armed with a flipper, this robot was built for one of Will Thomas's exam projects at school in 2007.
- Whirlpool: A flat invertible four-wheel driven robot designed to push, with no active weapon.
- Inertia B1: A beetleweight version of the team's well-known featherweight, which was upgraded in 2017.
- Inertia B2: A second beetleweight with a vertical flywheel, featuring a design greatly resembling that of Aftershock.
- Momentum: A featherweight vertical spinner, replacing Inertia XL, having originally started life as a horizontal spinner. Sold to a Dutch team.
- Airwave: A 6kg flipper built at a cost of under £50. Planned to compete in events as a cluster of alongside another 6kg half.
- Soundwave: A more compact version of Heatwave, a two-wheel driven flipper designed to compete in full combat featherweight events, with Heatwave itself being reserved for sportsman battles.
Team Shock also have a wide history in commission projects, in various weight classes. In February 2017, Team Shock opened their online Shockbots business, building weaponless featherweights under commission for a limited time. The only known sale before orders were closed was The Tragic Roundabout, a sit-and-spin design which repurposed some of the HDPE bucket used by Shockwave.
In September 2021, Will Thomas brought two of his featherweights to Robonerd in Wolverhampton: the original Aftershock and Airwave. The two robots would finish 2nd and 3rd respectively in Bristol Bot Builders' BEVs event.
Robot Wars Live Events
Team Shock are regular competitors at John Findlay's Robot Wars Live Events, with Shockwave, and particularly Manta and Maelstrom. The original Shockwave has only been fighting in the "retro battles" while Manta & Maelstrom have fought in the competitions with various degrees of success. Maelstrom won the first Robot Wars Live Event at Barnsley 2013, reached the finals at Portsmouth 2013 & finished runner-up at Widnes 2013. The team have also recently started competing with Earthquake.
Manta's debut was at the 2013 Robot Wars Event at Guildford where it reached the finals finishing runners-up to Thor, and also managed to win the Robot Wars 2013 Winter Tour. It also reached the semi-finals of the Robot Wars World Championships 2015 held at Colchester losing to eventual winner Toxic 2 where at this event it finished fourth overall.
Manta is also one of the two main mascots of Robot Wars live tours, as there is a regular part of the show where half of the audience will be told to cheer for Team Ripper, while the other half cheer for Team Manta. Audience members on Team Manta have the opportunity to win a Team Manta cap, or any audience member can purchase one from the merchandise stall.
- With their heavyweight, Manta, winning the 2017 FRA UK Championship, Team Shock are one of four FRA Champions to have won a heat and reached a Robot Wars Grand Final. The others are Terrorhurtz, TR2 and Eruption.
- Like Terrorhurtz, Team Shock reached their pair of Robot Wars Grand Finals before becoming an FRA UK Champion.
- The team lost to both the champion and runner-up in all three series of the reboot.
- Correspondence between User:MayflyTheWikiGuy and Will Thomas, 2nd October 2021
- Public Discord message from Will Thomas in December 2021
- Team Shock Official Website
- Team Shock - Official Facebook Page
- Shockwave & Aftershock - Robot Wars - Home (Facebook)