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"Oh, don’t make a pig’s ear of this! Go on, hog the headlines!"
— Jonathan Pearce

The Hassocks Hog was a competitor from West Sussex that fought in Series 6 and Series 7 of Robot Wars.

The original Hassocks Hog was a large box wedge with a flipper, similar to Iron-Awe's 2 and 2.1, only taller and featuring a self-righting “tail” on the top instead of an axe. This version had no real efficiency motors and the flipper was low power, acting more as a lifter, but was quite fast, with a top speed of 17 mph.

To make the weight limit, the robot had no base plate or rear armour. This machine lost its qualifier against Ming 3, Revolution 2 and Immortalis, but received a discretionary place to qualify. Despite surviving to the end of its first round battle in The Sixth Wars, it was deemed by the judges to have become immobilised, as it was only driving around in circles, having lost drive on one side.

After this defeat, a new machine, Hassocks Hog 2, was built, designed to address the flaws of the original machine. The second version was more compact, fully enclosed in armour, and featured efficiency motors and a much more powerful, 16 bar pneumatic flipper.

"We’ve come back this year with a much improved flipper. We had a limp lifter last year, now we’ve got some serious pneumatics. So we’re hoping to flip a few, rather than just tip them.”"
— Noel Poncelet, introducing the new and improved Hog in Series 7

The new machine also lost its qualifier battle, after receiving a large gash down the right-hand side and damage to the right drivetrain from the disc of Disc-O-Inferno, but once again received a discretionary place to qualify. The improvements did not help the new machine in battle, as after it was flipped, it failed to self right because its flipper failed to work, meaning it went out in the first round again.

Noel Poncelet was convinced to build the machine by his three sons, Jonathan, Robert and Daniel, who were all huge fans of Robot Wars, with encouragement from his wife Jude. They planned to enter Series 5, but were not ready in time for the Qualifiers.

Comedy

Noel Poncelet put effort into adding comedy to the robot. Along with detailed artwork on both machines, the team wore hats with furry ears, and both machines had large, furry, stabilising ears that matched the ears on their hats.

Noel Poncelet: "We also have the furry ears to stabilise it as well, they're functional as well as being ... a target!"
Jayne Middlemiss: "Is the furriness though, not a bit of a fire hazard?"
Noel Poncelet: "Yes, I have to say, its going to look good when they catch fire. We’re not looking forward to seeing Sgt Bash in there!"
— Noel and Jayne discuss the Hog’s furry ears in Series 7

Both machines had spotted underpants painted on the bottom of the robot. These were shown to the audience as Mr. Psycho picked up the robot after defeat in Series 7, and were shown in a post-battle interview in Series 6

Philippa Forrester: "There’s something we didn’t get to see! Let’s take a look underneath this robot ... [Noel lifts up the robot] We didn’t get to see ... the pants! [Laughs] Thank you!"
Jonathan Pearce: "I’m not sure if we really wanted to see that!"
— Philippa Forrester, as Noel shows off the Hog’s pants
  • The Hassock Hog Team, with furry ears on their caps.
  • Noel Poncelot shows Phillipa the Hog's pants in a post-battle interview in Series 6
  • The Hog's "pants" in Series 6
  • The pants painted on the bottom of Hassocks Hog 2

Similar to Killerkat and Hellbent, Noel claimed that the Hassocks Hog was in love with Matilda, due to their similar design, but unfortunately neither of their battles featured Matilda as a House Robot.

Philippa Forrester: "What’s this I hear about The Hassocks Hog having a thing for Matilda?"
Noel Poncelet: "It’s got this little affection; they look very similar, from the same stable so to speak; they’ve got tusks, snouty nose and they’ve got ears!"
— Noel and Phillipa discuss the Hog’s love for Matilda

Robot History

Series 6

Hassocks hog

The Hassocks Hog

In Heat H of the Sixth Wars, The Hassocks Hog was drawn up against the experienced Ming 3 machine, along with Team Panda's Hot Pants, and Spam.
"In the booth with us was the Spam team. As we were waiting to start the battle I said to them, how about we go for the others before we go for each other. He agreed, so I said I would go for Ming while he went for Hot Pants."
— Noel Poncelet
Hog rear side view 1

The rear of The Hassocks Hog. Note the absence of rear armour, to reduce the weight

The Hassocks Hog had already failed to defeat Ming 3 in its qualifier battle for the Sixth Wars, so it went straight for Andrew Cotterell's machine once more, resulting in a few nudges and collisions, the hog totally avoided attacking its other two opponents Hot Pants and Spam. Ming 3 tried to skewer The Hassocks Hog with its crusher, but didn't do much damage before releasing The Hassocks Hog again.

Bent motor support

The internal damage that cost them the fight: the drive chain knocked from its sprocket

Spam suddenly rammed The Hassocks Hog from the side, after which Noel Poncelot noticed that The Hassocks Hog could only go in circles. The Hassocks Hog tried to move forward and backwards, but couldn't control the left hand wheel that seemed to be freewheeling (Spam's ramming had hit right on the end of the motor support plate, and had bent it enough for the chain to be out of line and eventually jump off the sprocket).

This went seemingly unnoticed, and Ming 3 proceeded to pit Spam right behind the action of Sergeant Bash who pitted Hot Pants. However, the judges intervened, as they had in fact noticed The Hassocks Hog's reduced mobility. With that, The Hassocks Hog was eliminated from the competition, and Spam was put through to the next round along with Ming 3.

"A slight touch of controversy, which we always have on Robot Wars. Our judges, who are infinitely wise, have decided that The Hassocks Hog was going round in circles, so basically it was immobilized, and that was before Spam was thrown into the pits. Now, Hot Pants was in that leftover heat and were thrown out of the kitchen, but our judges in their infinite wisdom reckon that Ming 3 and Spam go through!"
— Craig Charles explains the judge’s decision

Series 7

Hog2 paint job side view

Hassocks Hog 2

"Sly and spry from the sty, to poke one in the eye!"
— Jonathan Pearce

In the first round of the Seventh Wars, Hassocks Hog 2 faced a tough draw against the 5th seeds Dantomkia, former Semi Finalists & Tag Team winners King B Powerworks and previous heat finalists Rick.

All four robots converged immediately into the middle of the arena at the start of the battle. Very quickly, Dantomkia threw Hassocks Hog 2 over, and pushed it onto the flame pit. They attempted to self-right, but the flipper failed to function and the ears began to burn.

"About ten seconds into the battle I was in a good position to flip Rick, but Jonathan hadn't operated the flipper. I thought nothing of it, as Damtomkia swiftly slid next to us and flipped us over onto our back. I asked Jonathan to flip us back, but he said he was trying. It was then that I realised that something major had gone wrong. Jonathan too realised that we had lost complete control of the Hog and I could see his eyes starting to fill up..."
— Noel Poncelet
With Hassocks Hog 2 immobile, Refbot counted it out. Mr. Psycho grappled it and tried to hammer it before dragging it around the arena. Mr. Psycho dropped it on the Drop Zone, only for the hog to gain a little bit of life, spinning away from the Drop Zone, helped by Dantomkia and King B Powerworks pushing it. Mr. Psycho picked it up again, spinning it around so the audience could see the pants, before dropping it out of the arena, just before the battle went to a judges' decision for the other three machines.
Burnt hog on pit table

Hassocks Hog 2 in the pits after the fight

"It didn't last the whole hog, did it? ... Back to the sty, young Hassocks Hog!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Hassocks Hog 2 was counted out and dropped out of the arena

In the pits, it was discovered the flipper had failed to work because the CO2 bottle had leaked onto the regulator, which caused it to freeze.

Results

THE HASSOCKS HOG - RESULTS
Series 6
The Sixth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat H, Round 1 vs. Ming 3, Hot Pants, Spam Eliminated
HASSOCKS HOG 2 - RESULTS
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat C, Round 1 vs. King B Powerworks, Rick, Dantomkia (5) Eliminated

Wins/Losses

  • Wins: 0
  • Losses: 2

Series Record

  • Series 1-5: Did not enter
  • Series 6: Heat, Round 1
  • Series 7: Heat, Round 1
  • The team with the original Hassocks Hog
  • The initial sketch for The Hassocks Hog, armed with a biting mouth and tusks
  • A paper model, used to design the original Hassocks Hog
  • Hassocks Hog 2 flips the original Hassocks Hog during testing
  • Hassocks Hog 2 before being painted
  • The Team Logo from Series 7, drawn by Rob Englebright of Killer Carrot

Trivia

  • The initial concept drawing of The Hassocks Hog had a biting mouth and sharp tusks.
  • The Hassocks Hog team were good friends with the Killer Carrot team, another group of Roboteers from West Sussex. Noel Poncelot designed a spreadsheet to calculate flipper heights for them whilst they team were building the new Killer Carrot machine for the Seventh Wars, whilst the Dangerous Vegetable team painted them a team logo in exchange for some spare parts.
  • Both versions of the Hassocks Hog lost their qualifying battle, but received a discretionary place.
  • Series 6 saw the Hassocks Hog fight Ming 3, who it had fought in its qualifier.
  • In their Series 6 battle, The Hassocks Hog team was the only team that had never appeared on the show before, and in their Series 7 battle, they were the only team that had not reached a Heat Final.
  • Noel Poncelot went on record saying his greatest fear in Robot Wars was high powered spinners, and was drawn against two of them in the Series 7 qualifier (Disc-O-Inferno and Sabre Tooth).
  • Robert and Jonathan Poncelet were so upset after losing in Round 1 of the Seventh Wars, Jayne Middlemiss took pity on them, tried to cheer them up and gave them a post battle interview, which no other losing Round 1 team had in The Seventh Wars, but the interview was not shown on TV.

External links

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