Jayne Middlemiss: "Now why have you decided to build all these robots, when you're supposed to be flying planes aren't you?"
Peter Bennett: "We are indeed, but we're trying to interest young people in engineering, and that's the main theme in our project work."
— During Typhoon 2's pre-battle interview in Series 7

Team Typhoon were a team of Scottish air cadets who competed in both series of Robot Wars Extreme, as well as Series 7. The team won the Middleweight championship three times, as well as winning the Lightweight championship and the Heavyweight UK championship, making them the only team in Robot Wars history to become champions in three weight classes.

The Team[edit | edit source]

The Air Cadets' crest

Typhoon Thunder's team with their trophy

Team Typhoon' was a team made up of cadets of the 870 Squadron from the Air Training Corps who entered a number of different robots in Robot Wars. The aim of these machines was to raise interest in engineering among young cadets, with the various degrees of proficiency going in different weight categories: the least experienced would work on the featherweight, and the most experienced working on the heavyweight.

The team at the controls of the middleweight Typhoon in Series 7

"It all began in April 2001 when Squadron of Edinburgh Air Cadets were discussing what to do as a project for the next year. They wanted to build a robot to enter the TV programme Robot Wars and their Officer, who worked for an avionics company now called Selex ES, recruited six engineers to assist."
— Team Typhoon website on entering Robot Wars[1]

Typhoon Cadet's team in Series 7 (right)

Various members of the Edinburgh Air Cadets

The team's robots were all cone-shaped full-body spinners, painted to resemble the RAF crest and featured a heavy steel outer ring with four claw-shaped hammer cutters on the side. All were devastatingly powerful, able to cause very high levels of damage when spinning at full speed, but were vulnerable at low speeds and none of them had a self-righting mechanism. Each robot was topped with a small flag that indicated forward-facing, and housed the safety link.

The various members of Team Typhoon were engineering students, whose proficiency level dictated the machine that they designed, built and fought with.

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  • Typhoon & Typhoon 2: Flying Officer Peter Bennett, Corporal Gary Cairns and Cadet Hazel Taylor were the team that drove Typhoon in the Middleweight Melee in Extreme 1. Hazel was replaced by Sergeant Graeme Horne, who joined the team (that drove Typhoon and Typhoon 2) for Extreme 2 and Series 7.
  • Typhoon Twins: Neil Harrison, Alistair McLeod and Keri Scott drove Typhoon Twins, who faced Typhoon in the Extreme 2 Middleweight final.
  • Typhoon Thunder: Keri was alongside Martin Armistead and Amy Drinkwater in the team of Lightweight champion Typhoon Thunder.
  • Typhoon Cadet: Young female air cadets drove Typhoon Cadet in the Featherweight tournament of Series 7. They were never named on the televised competition, but Corporal Cairns stated that young female cadets were in charge of the team's featherweight.

Controversy[edit | edit source]

In the Middleweight Championship during the second series of Extreme, Team Typhoon were permitted two entries in the event (Typhoon and the clusterbot Typhoon Twins). When these machines reached the final of the event, they both attacked and defeated each opposing team in a combination effort, before refusing to fight each other when they were the only robots left. The team stated unconvincingly that they planned to eliminate the others and then fight each other, but this did not sit well with some audience members or all roboteers. It should be noted that Team Typhoon consulted the producers about the idea of entering two robots into the competition, and it was permitted gladly.

Typhoon 2's team lift the trophy

Further controversy occurred, surrounding the Grand Final of Series 7 with Typhoon 2. In the battle with Storm 2, Typhoon 2 was repeatedly slammed around the arena by its opponent, until Typhoon 2's weapon struck the arena wall at full force, shattering one of the panels. While the battle was halted so that the arena wall could be repaired, it is claimed by Team Storm that Team Typhoon were permitted to repair the damage done to their robot, and get their weapon spinning up to the same speed it was at when cease was called, to remove any advantage that Storm 2 would have gotten from the arena collision. This claim is refuted by Team Typhoon, stating that no repairs could have been made to Typhoon 2 under the circumstances. Storm 2 continued to slam Typhoon 2 around the arena, until the final seconds of the fight, where a panel and support structure broke off of the front of Storm 2. The resulting judges' decision was awarded to Typhoon 2 based on damage, much to the dismay of the Storm 2 team, with the crowd booing the decision, resulting in Mentorn being forced to dub over the booing with cheers.

Regarding the Judges' scoring, Storm 2 was judged to have scored zero points for damage, despite the fact that Typhoon 2's drive chains fell off during the match. In actuality, these chains came off due to damage incurred during Typhoon 2's previous fight with X-Terminator when the robot hit the arena side wall causing the wheel and motor units to twist. This damage to Typhoon 2 was not noticed by the Judges, as they reportedly had not inspected the competitors for damage while making the decision, as a producer reportedly told the Judges that Typhoon 2 was undamaged. The televised edit does indeed show the Judges inspecting Typhoon 2 for damage, although they do not uncover any damage, leading to their decision.

PP3D Robotics[edit | edit source]

PP3D Robotics in Series 8

PP3D Robotics in Series 9

Driver of Typhoon 2, Gary Cairns, went on to form his own team in 2016, known as PP3D Robotics, named after their heavy use of 3D printing, and Cairns' company PlastiPrint 3D. Consisting of Gary Cairns, Sarah Dennis and Jamie McHarg, the team entered the Series 8 of Robot Wars with their robot, PP3D. Gary Cairns drove the robot, while Jamie McHarg, a roboteer in his own right, was the weapon operator. According to the Robot Wars website, Sarah Dennis' role was 'design and aesthetics'. The robot reached the Head-to-Heads. PP3D has also returned for Series 9, having crowdfunded the cost of upgrades to their machine, but finished in the same position as last time - fourth place in the second round. Sarah Dennis was absent for PP3D's head-to-head battles in Series 9 while suffering from food poisoning.

In Series 9-10, Jamie McHarg entered Coyote under his own team, Team Coyote, otherwise known as Rogue Two Robotics. This team also included Rachel Gibson and Calum Jones, and also Tony Smith in Series 10. Team Coyote finished fourth in their heat in both Series 9 and 10.

Robots[edit | edit source]

The series of Typhoon machines in Series 6

Name Weight Class Series
Typhoon Middleweight Extreme 1-2, Series 7
Typhoon 2 Heavyweight Extreme 2, Series 7
Typhoon Twins Middleweight Extreme 2
Typhoon Thunder Lightweight Extreme 2
Typhoon Cadet Featherweight Series 7

Wins/Losses[edit | edit source]

  • Wins: 13
  • Losses: 4

Series Record[edit | edit source]

Main Series Team Typhoon 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 Failed to qualify with Typhoon 2
The Seventh Wars Grand Champion with Typhoon 2
Middleweight Champion with Typhoon
Featherweight Championship, Round 1 with Typhoon Cadet
Series 8 Heat Round 2, Fourth Place with PP3D (Gary Cairns)
Series 9 Heat Round 2, Fourth Place with PP3D (Gary Cairns)
Series 10 Did not enter
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Middleweight Champion with Typhoon
Series 2 Middleweight Champion with Typhoon
Middleweight Championship with Typhoon Twins
Lightweight Champion with Typhoon Twins
Annihilator, Sixth Place with Typhoon 2

Outside Robot Wars[edit | edit source]

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Like many Robot Wars competitors, the Air Cadets also entered Robot Wars' sister show Techno Games. For Techno Games, the team built Typhoon Rover, a small box shaped robot. Typhoon Rover won The Assault Course, beating World Record breaker Mighty Mouse in the final. The team also entered the football event with Typhoon Rover and a modified Typhoon called 870 Squadron which acted as the goalkeeper, losing in the semi-finals to Team BB. The team also competed in the Cycling competition in 2003 with Byphoon. Typhoon Rover is still in one piece, and is currently stored in Gary Cairns' parents' shed.

Swarm, built by Gary Cairns

While Robot Wars was on hiatus, the team built a new heavyweight robot, an invertible 2-wheeled robot with a large horizontal spinning disc called Swarm. Gary Cairns built a heavyweight called Hive, and in March 2012, purchased Robot Wars veteran S.M.I.D.S.Y. from Team Troublesome but due to having a lack of time, sold it again to Team ACE. Gary Cairns briefly joined Team Honeycomb during this time.

In 2005, the team set up a company called the Rampaging Chariots guild.

"The Rampaging Chariot is a powerful, radio controlled featherweight sporting robot that is used by schools and youth groups to compete in an annual Robotic Games to determine the National Champion. It is a project aimed at interesting young people in engineering organised by the Rampaging Chariots Guild."
— Team Typhoon website on Rampaging Chariots

This is a company that deals in kits for building featherweight robots called "Rampaging Chariots". These kits can be hired by school or youth groups of teenagers, with the aim of getting young people interested in engineering. The robots can be used for sumo, football, assault course and sumo events, and each year the team hold the annual Scottish Robotic Games.[2]

Team Rogue Two Robots built a featherweight replica of Typhoon Rover, called Bullseye, which is now in possession of Team Scar.

Crossfire, entered by PP3D Robotics (Team Far North) into King of Bots

In 2017, Gary and Sarah Cairns, and Laurence Caie Hosie of PP3D Robotics (now Team Far North) entered the Chinese show King of Bots. They competed with Crossfire, a unique X-shaped robot with a huge horizontal bar spinner in the centre of the robot, creating a symmetrical design with 360 degrees of defence. Also armed with a flamethrower, Crossfire fought Team Big Brother's The Grubs in the first round, but lost after getting thrown by one of the floor flippers and having two of its support arms broken, leaving it stranded on its weapon assembly. Regardless, it received a wildcard to be reinstated during the third round of the competition, where it fought Spin Doctor, built by the founder of RoboGames. Crossfire was immobilised by a hit from Spin Doctor's drum, and it was eliminated at this stage. Crossfire also competed in a nine-robot Rumble shown at the end of Season 1, which it also lost.

008, Team Far North's entry for This is Fighting Robots

For the associated TV show This is Fighting Robots, Team Far North built a new robot, 008. Like PP3D, it was armed with an undercutting spinner, which previously served as PP3D's spare disc, as well as four rear flamethrowers. Although it was not initially selected by the celebrity team captains prior to and during its preliminary battle against Saturn, Ninja and Xiake, it was later selected by Sa Beining, who added 008 to his team and allowed it to advance to the main bracket. Under his captaincy, 008 fought Cat King, Weber and Red River Hong. 008 lost full mobility and the use of its weapon over the course of the match, but although it survived to a Judges' decision, this was won by Weber. Nevertheless, 008 progressed to the Tag Team round, where it was partnered with Greedy Snake in order to battle Xiake for the second time, alongside its teammate Vulcan. 008 was immobilised by big hits from Xiake, but its teammate Greedy Snake was able to win the battle on a Judges' decision by pitting Xiake and holding Vulcan aloft, allowing 008 to progress in spite of its immobility. 008's place on Sa Beining's team was then challenged by Formula, and 008 fought the fellow UK team to stay in the competition, but despite causing major damage to Formula, 008 lost the use of one wheel, and was counted out, eliminating 008 from the competition.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

PP3D, 008, Typhoon Rover and Typhoon 2 in June 2019

  • Team Typhoon are the only team in Robot Wars history to enter four weight classes.

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Honours[edit | edit source]

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