- "Veni, Vidi, Vici"
- — Slogan on the robot, meaning- "I came, I saw, I conquered"
Vercingetorix was a robot from the Isle of Wight which competed in three consecutive series of Robot Wars. Appearing in Series 2-4, its best performances saw it reach the Arena Semi-Final stage in Series 2 and the second round of its Heat in Series 4, where it lost to Haardvark and Spawn of Scutter respectively. Vercingetorix was also eliminated in the first round of its Series 3 Heat, after being pitted by Terrorpin. Following its Series 4 appearance, it was succeeded by the similar Comengetorix.
The first version of Vercingetorix, which competed in Series 2, was a blue box shape with a steep wedge on the front. It was track driven, powered by two 24 volt DC motors from a wheelchair and two 12 volt batteries, with a top speed of 9mph. It was equipped with a small pneumatic flipper on the front, a 15mm rear spike and side rams that were strengthened by horseshoe studs. It had an adjustable outer shell which could be raised and lowered to adjust the ground clearance, between 3 and 25 mm.
- "Vercingetorix looks the business to me. It's sleek, low, lean looking...great design."
- — Jonathan Pearce during its battle in Series 3
Vercingetorix in the Third Wars underwent a slight weight increase and was built around a "monocoque construction".
- "That basiscally means it's got a lighter shell, they reckon they can go faster, and have more weapons. Now, I'm worried that a lighter shell means it's going to just get punctured and hammered!"
- — Phillipa Forrester explains what monocoque construction is
It retained the rear spike and side rams, but the lifter was reinforced, and the robot featured new graphics and a more domed shell. Vercingetorix kept the unique suspension to adjust its ground clearance, which was now between 0 and 0.2m. Alistair Curtis-Horsefall jokingly claimed that the robot was armoured in "bifurcated caesium-324", but the statistics board listed the robot as having a "Titanium Clad Body Shell".
- "Named after a hero of ancient times, and the axe is an age-old weapon! Its materials, Kevlar and Lexan, very modern, as they go "Roman about"! Roaming about … yeah. Geddit?"
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Vercingetorix in Series 4
In Series 4, Vercingetorix 3 (as styled by the team) was rebuilt in the shape of Mortis. The box wedge was made from Kevlar and Lexan armour and ran on tracks. It also shared the same weaponry as Mortis, with a lifting beam for self-righting and flipping, and a bladed axe. The lifting arm was quite slow, but capable of lifting and toppling 80kg robots without trouble, and the axe was thin but capable of chopping deep into the armour of Fat Boy Tin. This version was slower than previous versions, with a top speed of 6mph. The robot was powered by four 750 Watt motors. The lifting beam had a triangular spike on top which gave the arm more range and made it possible to self-right. This version of Vercingetorix weighed narrowly over the pre-Extreme 1 Heavyweight limit.
- "That's terrilium carbonic alloy, if anyone at home knows what that means. Good news, Buzz Lightyear's wings are made from it!"
- — Julia Reed on the armour (The team had jokingly claimed the armour was a fictional material, mentioned by Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story)
These features, except for the tracks, were retained for this robot's successor Comengetorix.
Vercingetorix was named after an Arverni king and chieftain of the same name, who famously united the Gauls in a revolt against Roman forces during the last phase of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars. The team referenced this history by carrying a Roman-style standard in Series 3 and 4, and the first two versions were covered in anti-Roman graffiti. Ian Gear jokingly claimed in 2021 that they also chose the name to purposefully frustrate Craig Charles, who had to practice saying the name.
Vercingetorix was entered into Robot Wars by a team from Wootton, on the Isle of Wight. The team captain was Ian Gear, and he was consistently joined by teammate Alistair Curtis-Horsefall, who was also a member of the team during Extreme when the team competed with Comengetorix. Ian Gear drove the robot, and Alistair Curtis-Horsefall was the weapons engineer. The two of them were Aerospace workers.
In Series 2 and 3, the duo were joined by Nigel Radestock, before Alistair Curtis-Horsefall invited his son Tom onto the team for Series 4, whose role was "weapons co-ordinator". The Vercingetorix team were the only team in the history of Robot Wars to come from the Isle of Wight.
Vercingetorix qualified for both Series 2 and 3, presumably after completing the obstacle course and its design. For Series 4, Vercingetorix did not fight in a qualifier battle. As the team were already well known, they were given an automatic place in the series, though they did attend a qualifier event to show the producers the newer version of Vercingetorix and for details on the filming format.
- "Will this have the Gaul to destroy all? "Veni, vidi, vici" it says, will they come, see and conquer?"
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Vercingetorix
Vercingetorix started by slowly but steadily taking the left-hand route of the Gauntlet, driving over an arena spike, which lifted the robot up, but Vercingetorix moved on unaffected. However, the Sentinel blocked Vercingetorix, pushing it against the side wall. Vercingetorix turned away from the wall, but was blocked by the Sentinel again, which pushed it towards the wall. Vercingetorix tried pushing against the Sentinel, then tried turning around, but the Sentinel pushed it against the wall as it span, leaving it facing the wrong way. Dead Metal rushed in, grabbing hold of Vercingetorix and cutting into its top. Time ran out, and Vercingetorix had covered 5.1m in distance.
However, this proved to be enough, as it finished 4th out of 6. Vercingetorix was through to the Trial stage, which in this heat was Sumo.
Vercingetorix drove straight at Dead Metal as it charged, and managed to stop the House Robot being able to push it backwards. Vercingetorix raised its flipper, and Dead Metal reversed for another charge.
- "That's good power, look at the wheelspin [on Dead Metal] there, good traction as well, and a flip from that front flipper, putting Dead Metal off."
- — Jonathan Pearce
Dead Metal drove to Vercingetorix's side, and started pushing it using its claws to ram. Dead Metal readjusted its position and got Vercingetorix between the claws, and pushed Vercingetorix to the edge, however instead of letting Vercingetorix drop, it kept it dangling on the edge and cut into the top with his saw, holding it still until time ran out. As the only robot to survive, this left it 1st out of 5 overall on the leaderboard.
In the Arena Semi-Final, Vercingetorix fought Haardvark. Before the battle, the team drew two "No Dead Metal" signs on the top.
At the start of the battle, Haardvark came in much quicker than its opponent, and pushed against Vercingetorix, which was making little movement. After this initial shove, there was no life from Vercingetorix, and it was repeatedly rammed by Haardvark. Haardvark had some problems with its forks, as they kept getting stuck in the floor. It turned around and pushed Vercingetorix in reverse, and Vercingetorix suddenly started moving again, only for it to drive into the PPZ, where it was axed by Shunt. With the help of Sir Killalot, Shunt pushed Vercingetorix onto the flame pit.
- "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori- How sweet it is to die for your fatherland. And that's what's going to happen, it looks to me, for Vercingetorix."
- — Jonathan Pearce does Latin
Then, Sir Killalot plucked up the lifeless Vercingetorix and pitted it. Alistair Curtis-Horsefall later revealed that a faulty transmitter was responsible for the robot's immobility.
- "Back after the last wars, with bags of experience … It has unique suspension, and opponents may not be left hanging around too long!"
- — Jonathan Pearce whilst introducing Vercingetorix
In the first round of its heat, Vercingetorix was placed up against newcomers Terrorpin.
At the start, the two robots approached each other, but both robots turned away before they could meet, then turned around to attack. Terrorpin drove at Vercingetorix, but glanced against the side. It drove at the front of Vercingetorix, which allowed Vercingetorix to lift it up with its front wedge. Vercingetorix lifted Terrorpin onto its top and drove it towards Sgt. Bash, but in doing so drove close to the House Robot itself. With Terrorpin hanging off its side, Vercingetorix was unable to push its opponent into the House Robot properly, so tried to push it down the arena, only to drive onto an arena spike that lifted it up. Vercingetorix briefly stopped, and Sgt.Bash pushed Vercingetorix from behind to separate the two. After Sgt. Bash pushed Vercingetorix around, Terrorpin fell off. The two robots circled each other, each trying to use their spike weapons, though neither robot could land an effective blow, and when Vercingetorix tried to get its flipper under Terrorpin, Terrorpin reversed away. The two robots span around each other, trying to get in a good position to attack, and Terrorpin got at Vercingetorix's side and tried to push, but Vercingetorix turned away. Vercingetorix drove down the arena, and Terrorpin followed, but accidentally drove past its opponent and drove dangerously close to the pit.
- "Well, it's hardly "Veni, vidi, vici" at the moment, came and saw and conquered."
- — Jonathan Pearce
Terrorpin turned to safety before Vercingetorix could push it down, but then reversed into Matilda's CPZ. Matilda lifted Terrorpin and blocked its escape, and when Terrorpin found a chance to escape it drove into the wall and Vercingetorix pinned it there. Shunt separated the two competitors, and Terrorpin got behind Vercingetorix and pushed it to the House Robot, who had returned to his CPZ. Shunt hit Vercingetorix with his axe, puncturing it twice, then Terrorpin pushed it away. With one long push, Terrorpin pushed Vercingetorix across the arena and into the pit. Terrorpin fell in as well, but was still through as Vercingetorix went in first.
- "...Terrorpin, to nudge the fancied Vercingetorix into the pit! … What a surprise that is! That's a stunner!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
- "...and this year, we're gonna win!"
- — Ian Gear's ambitious aim
Vercingetorix immediately drove at Fat Boy Tin, which drove into its front and started pushing it, but Vercingetorix reversed and pushed back a little before Fat Boy Tin reversed to get off Vercingetorix's lifter. Vercingetorix quickly got under it again and pushed it whilst trying to lift Fat Boy Tin, but Fat Boy Tin turned away before it could be toppled. Fat Boy Tin tried to drive away, but as it turned away, it exposed its side to Vercingetorix, which allowed them to drive at their side. Fat Boy Tin turned away before Vercingetorix could get the lifter underneath, and started pushing Plunderbird 4. Vercingetorix tried to get its lifter under Fat Boy Tin's side, and Plunderbird 4 got under the front of Fat Boy Tin and started pushing it towards Sir Killalot.
- "Plunderbird 4 with the 'slicer dicer', Vercingetorix with the axe and lifter, Fat Boy Tin with the...err...smile... the spikes as well, to be fair."
- — Jonathan Pearce
Vercingetorix helped Plunderbird 4 to push Fat Boy Tin against the arena wall by Sir Killalot's CPZ, and whilst Plunderbird 4 held the front wedge of Fat Boy Tin, Sir Killalot lifted Fat Boy Tin a little. This allowed Vercingetorix to easily get in underneath and lift Fat Boy Tin onto its side. Fat Boy Tin fell onto Sir Killalot, until Sir Killalot reversed. Fat Boy Tin could not self-right, so it was immobile. Vercingetorix hit the base with its axe, easily piercing. As the House Robots started attacking Fat Boy Tin, Plunderbird 4 pushed Vercingetorix, and Vercingetorix retaliated by turning Plunderbird 4 onto its side, before flipping it back up. Plunderbird 4 at this point had become immobile. As Fat Boy Tin was taken to the floor flipper, Vercingetorix axed the base, but this proved to be a mistake, as the axe was still in Fat Boy Tin when the flipper fired, causing Vercingetorix to be thrown over as well. Vercingetorix was able to self-right, and cease was called. Vercingetorix went through to the next round along with Plunderbird 4.
Vercingetorix went up against their future Tag Team partner, the tenth seeds Spawn of Scutter, in the second round of the heat.
- Julia Reed: "They have got a spike that travels at 120 miles per hour, however."
- Ian Gear: "So?"
- Alistair Curtis-Horsefall: "If we travel 121, it won't catch us!"
- — Pre-battle interview with Julia Reed
Both robots turned a little before driving at each other, trying to get at the other robots side. Spawn of Scutter got at the side of Vercingetorix and started pushing it up the arena, but Vercingetorix reversed. However, in doing so, it drove onto a flame jet. Spawn of Scutter was in close pursuit, and soon caught up. Vercingetorix fired its axe, but it failed to puncture. Spawn of Scutter rammed Vercingetorix down the arena, into the bottom arena wall. Spawn of Scutter fired its spike, then pushed Vercingetorix into Sir Killalot. Sir Killalot grabbed Vercingetorix with his claw, cutting through the armour. Sir Killalot pulled Vercingetorix away from the wall, then released it. As Vercingetorix reversed away, Spawn of Scutter chased it, and Vercingetorix missed with the axe. As Spawn of Scutter closed in, Vercingetorix tried turning around and reversing down the arena, but Spawn of Scutter was still right beside them, but Vercingetorix fired the axe, which punctured the top of Spawn of Scutter. Vercingetorix tried to push Spawn of Scutter into Sir Killalot, but as the two neared the CPZ, Spawn of Scutter managed to push back, and pushed it across the arena, into the arena wall. Vercingetorix's axe was still stuck in Spawn of Scutter, so Refbot drove under Spawn of Scutter, and Vercingetorix pulled back its axe. Spawn of Scutter drove away from the wall to line up another attack, but before Vercingetorix could move away, Spawn of Scutter got behind it and pushed it into Sir Killalot. The House Robot merely pushed Vercingetorix out of his CPZ, but Spawn of Scutter kept Vercingetorix pinned against the wall, firing its spike.
- "And I think Darren Ball, Graham Warner and Luke Jackman believe - like I do - Vercingetorix is almost finished."
- — Jonathan Pearce
Vercingetorix was unable to move away, so Refbot got behind it and pushed it away from the wall. Vercingetorix could merely turn on the spot, so it was officially immobile. The House Robots came in, with Sir Killalot grabbing it by the lifting arm and Dead Metal cutting into it with his saw. Sir Killalot picked Vercingetorix up and span it around, throwing it up the arena. Vercingetorix landed partially on the floor flipper, which fired, flipping Vercingetorix over. Dead Metal grabbed it and cut into it some more as Vercingetorix tried to self-right until cease was called. Vercingetorix was well and truly eliminated from the Fourth Wars.
- Craig Charles: "...it just started to pound you into submission against the barriers."
- Ian Gear: "That's a lot of power!"
- Craig Charles: "and pushed you into Killalot's zone."
- Alistair Curtis-Horsefall: "That's what caused the main problem. Killalot crushed the Lexan on the side, and it's jammed up the tracks."
- — Post-battle interview with Craig Charles
- "Now, they can lift a bus apparently, and I think it's time for a pile-up!"
- — Julia Reed on Vercingetorix before Round 1
As the robots charged together, Vercingetorix went for Razer, briefly bumping into Spawn of Scutter. However, Razer quickly got underneath it and crushed into the top.
- "The boys from the Isle of Wight with a Kevlar and Lexan machine in trouble straight away from Razer!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Razer crushes Vercingetorix
Vercingetorix raised its lifter and fired its axe, but both weapons missed, and Razer kept attacking, despite being lifted from behind by Behemoth. Razer raised the crusher, only to make another puncture and push Vercingetorix up the arena. Onslaught drove into Vercingetorix and Razer, and Razer let Vercingetorix go to attack Onslaught. Vercingetorix took advantage, getting at Razer's side and hitting it with the axe, penetrating its armour and narrowly missing one of Razer's drive motors. Vercingetorix and Razer pushed against each other, then Razer reversed away after Onslaught reversed into it. Razer quickly got under Vercingetorix and pierced another hole in the shell.
- "Razer taking on poor old Vercingetorix again. Well, they've picked on them right from the start."
- — Jonathan Pearce
Razer kept hold of Vercingetorix as Behemoth lifted Razer from behind again, and Onslaught lifted Vercingetorix. Spawn of Scutter drove into Razer, causing Razer to drop Vercingetorix, but Razer got hold of them again, puncturing another hole. As Razer pulled Vercingetorix back towards Attila the Drum, Vercingetorix hit Attila the Drum with its axe, but did no damage. Razer let Vercingetorix go and went after Onslaught, but Vercingetorix appeared to have limited mobility, only moving back and forth a little. It tried to hit Behemoth with its axe when it got close, but missed.
- "Vercingetorix has been in the thick of everything right from the start"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Vercingetorix struggles to move
The other competitors seemed to ignore the limping Vercingetorix for a while, and Vercingetorix stopped moving. Eventually, Behemoth got behind Vercingetorix and lifted it up, then Spawn of Scutter hit it with the pneumatic spike. Spawn of Scutter pushed Vercingetorix against the wall by a flame jet. Vercingetorix was left fully immobile, smoking as the other robots fought each other. Cease was called, and since Vercingetorix had not been officially classed as immobile, it went to a judges' decision, Vercingetorix was unsurprisingly eliminated.
- "Our strategy? To bite anything close enough to us. In particular, Vercingetorix - as it has a powerful axe and if lucky could take us out with one good shot. We got them in our jaws very early on and easily punctured their armour. After the fight, we discovered that we had pierced straight through one of their batteries. They retaliated, bringing the axe down on Razer's rear, puncturing the armour and missing our drive motor by just a few millimetres. "
- — The Razer website
In the pits, it was revealed that the tip of Vercingetorix's aerial had been damaged, shorting out on the bodywork and preventing the robot from picking up signals, in addition to the battery damage received from Razer.
- "So a tiny little thing like that can ruin the whole fight? Well that is the cruelty of Robot Wars - a tiny thing goes wrong and you're out"
- — Julia Reed
|VERCINGETORIX - RESULTS|
|The Second Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Arena Semi-Final
|Heat L, Gauntlet||5.1m (4th)||Qualified|
|Heat L, Trial (Sumo)||Survived (1st)||Qualified|
|Heat L, Semi-Final||vs. Haardvark||Lost|
|The Third Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Heat I, Round 1||vs. Terrorpin||Lost|
|The Fourth Wars - UK Championship|
|Heat L, Eliminator||vs. Fat Boy Tin, Plunderbird 4 (26)||Qualified|
|Heat L, Semi-Final||vs. Spawn of Scutter (10)||Lost|
|Round 1||vs. Attila the Drum, Behemoth, Onslaught,
Razer, Spawn of Scutter
- Wins: 1
- Losses: 4
NOTE: Vercingetorix's successful Gauntlet and Trial runs are not included
|Main Series||Vercingetorix Series Record|
|The First Wars||Did not enter|
|The Second Wars||Heat, Arena Semi-Final|
|The Third Wars||Heat, Round 1|
|The Fourth Wars||Heat, Round 2|
|The Fifth Wars||Failed to qualify with Comengetorix|
|The Sixth Wars||Entered with Comengetorix|
|The Seventh Wars||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Did not enter|
|Series 10||Did not enter|
|Robot Wars Extreme||Appearances|
|Series 1||Entered with Comengetorix|
|Series 2||Did not enter|
Outside Robot Wars
Vercingetorix entered Techno Games 2003 as V-Bot. It entered the Sumo and beat 51 in round 1 but was just out of the quickest four. It entered the Football tournament as well, teamed up with A Bot as "The AV Raiders", and lost in Round 1 to Team Make Robotics.
In August 2019, the various versions of Vercingetorix, alongside its successor Comengetorix, made an appearance at the Robots Live! at The Great Wonderfest event on the Isle of Wight, as static display pieces. Both the Series 2 and Series 3 shells of Vercingetorix were present without any internals, while the Series 4 version of Vercingetorix was present in fully functional condition, even performing a drive test in the arena (though the original axe head has been replaced with the one Comengetorix used in Series 6). The Series 2 and 3 shells remain in good condition, and were exhibited alongside the likes of UFO and Turbulence.
- Vercingetorix was the only robot from Heat L of the Second Wars to win any battle in Robot Wars beyond that episode.
- The Series 2 and 3 incarnations of Vercingetorix had a Latin slogan painted onto its front wedge- Romani ite Domum, which translates to "Romans go home". This is a reference to a well-known scene from the 1979 Monty Python film The Life of Brian.
- The Series 2 and 3 incarnations also had another Latin slogan on its side, stating Julius, futue te ipsum, which roughly translates to "Julius, go f*** yourself". In spite of the slogan's offensive nature, it was left uncensored during the broadcast of Heat I.
- Vercingetorix was named after the Gaul Chieftain who rose up to defy Caesar. Team member Alistair Curtis-Horsefall jokingly claimed it was armoured in caesium in Series 3.
- Both times Vercingetorix lost at the heat semi-final stage, it appeared in Heat L.
- Private correspondence between RobotManiac and Ian Gear in May 2021
- Private correspondence between RobotManiac and Ian Gear in May 2021
- Southern Annihilator report, the Razer website (archived)