- "Come on, beware of our massive bite"
- — Steven Martin
Great White (大白鲨 or Dàbái shā in Mandarin) was an Australian heavyweight robot which competed in Season 1 of King of Bots and the debut season of This is Fighting Robots. Initially a collaboration between Australian featherweight champion Steven Martin and UK roboteer Ellis Ware, Great White was a vertical spinner paired with a minibot named Remora. Uniquely, each member of the team was responsible for one of the robots. In the first round, it earned an impressive victory over the American Spin Doctor, before defeating Hunting Wind and Tánshè in consecutive wins. After reaching the top eight of the competition, Great White's run was ended by the Chinese drum spinner, Chiyung Jinlun. Great White also won a Tag Team battle alongside Spin Doctor, against Rust Boar and Wild Beast, winning on a Judges' decision.
When Great White returned in Season 1.5, still with Remora despite Ellis Ware leaving the team to compete with Sandstorm, Great White viciously defeated White Tiger Guardian to join the competition at a late stage, as a 'challenger', but it lost its next fight after the vertical spinner of Cat King threw Great White out of the arena.
As its name suggested, Great White was designed after the shark species of the same name, and greatly resembled Steven Martin's previous heavyweight Death Roll. It was a grey, red and white, four-wheel drive robot with a laser-cut HARDOX chassis, an angled front wedge and a large serrated vertical spinning blade cut into the shape of a shark's tooth. The asymmetrical blade spun vertically at 5,500rpm, and was capable of causing extensive damage to opponents as well as flipping them over. Great White's four wheels were exposed at the top, although the chassis' shape still offered considerable protection around the front, sides and rear. A self-righting arm was mounted at the rear, which actuated sideways to allow Great White to right itself when overturned.
Remora was an invertible featherweight minibot featuring a two-wheel drive system and a pair of interchangeable horizontal undercutting spinners. These included a serrated disc - owing a greater resemblance to a circular saw than a conventional flywheel - and a bar spinner. The incarnation of Remora seen in Season 1 was an improved and renamed version of Neon, a featherweight built and driven by Ellis Ware. In this form, Remora incorporated magnets to keep itself flush on the ground when driving around, helping to improve its controllability. The robot itself was originally built in the space of two days, using spare components intended for Ware's heavyweight robots.
For Season 1.5, an entirely new version of Great White was built, sporting a predominantly dark blue and black color scheme and several revisions to its chassis and weapon. Chassis upgrades included additional bracing on the weapon arm and a reinforced motor mount, while the team made a brand-new billet weapon motor in order to address reliability issues encountered in Season 1. Only the self-righting arm and drive motor controllers were carried over from the Season 1 Great White, as was the original blade, which was retained as a spare component. A different version of Remora was also used specifically for Season 1.5, featuring a T-shaped chassis and a similar set of interchangeable undercutter spinners as its Season 1 incarnation.
King of Bots (Season 1)
In the blue corner, Great White started up against RoboGames founder David Calkins and his robot Spin Doctor in a high-stakes first-round draw.
- "Spin Doctor is a really really fierce opponent. I think it probably would've been the favourite to win the competition."
- — Steven Martin
As the two vertical spinners converged, it was Great White's flywheel that landed the heavier hit than Spin Doctor's drum, sending the American robot flying into the side spikes and dislodging the plexiglass panel protecting its side. As Spin Doctor moved away, Remora drove into the side and sheared away the rest of the panel, but the impact sent the featherweight hurtling into the side spikes and flying out of range. Remora tried to recover while Great White landed more powerful blows on Spin Doctor, delivering hard knocks to the drum, chassis and wedge but not causing lasting damage. Great White, rather, was showing signs of wear, as its flywheel began to slow down. With its opponent less dangerous, Spin Doctor charged in and set off its flamethrower, concealing both in a blaze of fire.
Within the inferno, Spin Doctor's drum began to chew up Great White's armour, bending the side panels out of shape. Eventually, Great White was able to escape by driving over Spin Doctor. Spin Doctor took the lead, snapping off the side panels for the flywheel and pressuring Great White into the side walls where it was overturned by the drum. However, the side drums on the arena also caught Spin Doctor and overturned it, with Remora pressuring the American robot to alleviate the pressure on its partner robot. Both Spin Doctor and Great White self-righted, but Remora became stuck on its disc and was carried right into the side wall, where it was hurled away in explosive fashion, after which point it would not move. It became clear that Spin Doctor's flamethrower was not working, but it kept the pressure up on Great White, who dealt another powerful hit but was overturned. The two battled on even footing, trading blows, but in the last thirty seconds of the match, Great White got a slam on the side of Spin Doctor that dislodged the drum and bent the wheels out of alignment. Left immobilised, Spin Doctor was counted out and Great White progressed by knockout.
- "I think his robot worked really well, and had the battle going for as long as it did with all the massive hits was amazing, so credit to the robot for being as good as it is. But fortunately, we just came out on top, and I think it could've gone either way."
- — Steven Martin
Great White fought Hunting Wind in the second round. The presenters remembered the fight with Spin Doctor fondly, but it was revealed that Great White had taken considerably more damage than previously thought. A wheel and weapon motor had to be replaced during repairs, and the machine was put back together just in time for its battle, without the ability to test.
- "I'd like to think we'll win, but I'm not too sure. It's a very nicely built robot, and one hit from him in the wrong spot can definitely take us out."
- — Steven Martin
Remora took the lead armed with a bar spinner, but Hunting Wind's drivers activated the smokescreen in the face of Steven Martin and Ellis Ware. Peering through the obstruction, Great White landed a powerful blow on Hunting Wind's side that shelled the axe bot almost in one hit, tearing away armor. Hunting Wind's axe blow hit thin air and overturned the robot, pushing it into Great White's blade. Remora landed a follow up blow and tore off the loosened Hunting Wind's front armor. Left with no armor and the robot smoking, Hunting Wind was quickly counted out, putting Great White through to the third round in quick fashion.
In the third round, Great White was drawn against Tánshè, featuring two roboteers with whom the Anglo-Australian team were familiar. Steven Martin admitted that Great White only had one weapon motor left, and damage could cost them the tournament. Both teams worked on their robots to try and beat the other's ground clearance. Remora once again equipped the bar spinner.
- Steven Martin: " John's being doing this for many many years, and one good flip is all it takes, and we could be upside-down and not able to get back over. So it's really going to be a battle of, of who's the lowest wedge, and who can get under each other. Great White's coming for your wedge!"
- John Reid: "Where's your parachute, Steve?"
- — Each team throws down the gauntlet
Tánshè zoomed off the mark and deflected Remora into the air, shunting Great White into the side spikes. The impact caused Great White's fragile sides to splinter and fragment, pieces of metal and plastic strewn across the arena. Tánshè pressured Great White against the side of the arena, the heavy blade chewing the paint away and leaving deep scratches. Tánshè did not flip its opponent, and backed off for another attack, throwing Remora again, but as Great White continued to smash at the front wedge it became apparent that the flipper was bending out of place from the repeat hits. Tánshè flipped itself over and with its flipper buckled, struggled to self-right, though it did eventually do so.
Its flipper wedge now bent almost perpendicular to the arena floor, Tánshè kept the pressure on, Great White momentarily impeded by the arena spikes and against the side walls. Tánshè pushed the speedy Remora into Great White's blade, smashing its wheel and limiting the minibot's effectiveness. However, Great White showed no signs of slowing down, whilst Tánshè's effectiveness was impeded, and Great White succeeded in tearing off the side panel. Great White kept up the attack, tearing off another side panel and landing a terminal blow that immobilized Tánshè. With a third destructive KO, Great White celebrated and progressed to the fourth round, taking time to praise Tánshè and its driver, John Reid.
- "I was surprised. We went into this thinking it might be our last battle, but we got another win. The weapon did a lot of damage to their robot I didn't expect it to do anywhere near as much damage to their robot, but it bent bits of their robot I didn't even know it could!"
- — Steven Martin's post battle interview
In the fourth round, Great White fought a second invertible drum spinner, Chiyung Jinlun – for this fight, the team reequipped Remora with its serrated disc, with Steven Martin expressing reservations about its chances of victory.
- "We’re not overly confident – we had a really tough fight against Spin Doctor, and [Chiyung Jinlun] is a similar design. It’ll be really another battle of who can get underneath the front of the robot and who drives the best. I think we’d probably – I’d give us a 60% chance, but this fight could go either way."
- — Steven Martin
In the opening seconds, the main part of Great White waited in the red square, while Remora drove out quickly to attack Chiyung Jinlun’s rear panel. The main robot was buffeted into the wall spikes by Chiyung Jinlun’s charge – both competitors’ spinners collided, resulting in Great White being launched upwards against the outer walls and losing two of its armor panels. At the same time, Remora slammed into the side of Chiyung Jinlun, causing it to ricochet across the arena. Seconds later, Great White charged head-on into Chiyung Jinlun, damaging its middle front wedge and causing it to get lodged under its opponent’s drum. Another set of head-on collisions ensued, with Great White continuing to damage Chiyung Jinlun’s front as the latter pushed it across the arena and into Remora. Great White and Remora briefly surrounded Chiyung Jinlun, the latter cut away at Chiyung Jinlun’s side and wedges before the Chinese machine rammed Great White again. In an attempt to attack Chiyung Jinlun again, Great White inadvertently drove into Remora’s disc, flinging the multibot into the wall and immobilizing it.
Despite this setback, Great White immediately drove into Chiyung Jinlun’s side, tearing one of its protective polycarbonate panels apart and ripping off one of the mounts for the other. It continued to damage Chiyung Jinlun’s front end as it was deflected and pushed back a few more times, with Ellis Ware activating a smokescreen in the Xiake team’s control area. Great White tore Chiyung Jinlun’s other side panel open as it was pinned against the corner, but suddenly slowed its spinner down, and was pinned front-first against the spikes for several seconds by Chiyung Jinlun. The two robots separated – as Great White escaped, its team activated a floor flipper on Chiyung Jinlun, but without flipping its opponent over. Great White continued to cause damage to Chiyung Jinlun’s wedge, eventually tearing it open, but was again deflected and pushed back by Chiyung Jinlun, and lifted itself onto its side after attempting to ram the latter’s exposed wheels. It dodged another ram from Chiyung Jinlun as both competitors maneuvered close to the grinders, before shredding Chiyung Jinlun’s right-front tire with another head-on attack.
The two competitors bumped each other again, with the now three-wheeled Chiyung Jinlun briefly pushing Great White back. Great White hit Chiyung Jinlun’s front end again, causing both robots to recoil, before driving over the flame jets and away from an approaching Chiyung Jinlun. It turned sharply to hit Chiyung Jinlun’s drum again, but was deflected onto a floor flipper and thrown onto its spinner by the hazard. Following a ram from Chiyung Jinlun, Great White was re-righted, and drove away from its opponent as it became apparent that its spinner had stopped functioning. This left it vulnerable to another shove from Chiyung Jinlun – seconds later, it drove over and was lifted by the floor rods, before driving head-on into Chiyung Jinlun again. Great White was then pushed into the saws by Chiyung Jinlun, resulting in it getting flipped over. It was rammed into one of the grinders, before self-righting, but responded by twice trying to push Chiyung Jinlun from the side. Great White sped away, driving itself up another floor flipper in the process, but was pinned against one of the grinder mounts by Chiyung Jinlun. The two robots pushed each other back and forth in the closing seconds, with the battle going to a Judges’ decision – the damage Great White caused throughout was sufficient to result in Chiyung Jinlun catching fire after the battle ended, although this moment was not shown in the televised episode. 
During the Judging process, it was revealed that the Great White team had fired one of their floor flippers on Chiyung Jinlun 77 seconds into the battle, breaching a rule which stated that teams were not permitted to use the flippers until 90 seconds had elapsed. Points were deducted from Great White’s score as a result; it therefore lost the decision to Chiyung Jinlun and was eliminated from the competition, despite a strong and very damaging performance.
- Ling Zhou: "Hey guys! This is the last game – the last fight for you guys in this stage – what are the kind of things you want to deliver to the Chinese fans and Chinese audience?"
- Ellis Ware: "Well, I want to say, I hope they’ve enjoyed the show. We’ve been really lucky – we’ve had four amazing fights, we’ve had some four amazing opponents and it’s been great fun coming to China. We both absolutely loved China… and we can’t wait to come back!"
- — Ling Zhou interviews Ellis Ware following Great White’s elimination from the main tournament
Great White also fought in a Tag Team battle, filmed at the end of the series. There, it teamed with its very first opponent, Spin Doctor, to battle two more drum spinners, Rust Boar and Wild Beast. For this particular battle, the Great White team elected not to use Remora for the first time, while Ellis Ware took over the controls of the main robot.
Instantly, the two teammates split up, with Great White pursuing and exchanging blows with Rust Boar while Spin Doctor got underneath and rammed Wild Beast into the wall. Great White accidentally collided with Spin Doctor, again losing both of the side panels protecting its weapon mount, allowing Wild Beast to ram it away. It slammed into the wall at the far corner, causing sparks to fly, and was violently thrown into the air by Wild Beast as all four robots converged near one of the grinders. Great White hesitated, before clipping the side of Rust Boar and retreating to the far end of the arena. It proceeded to pursue and immobilize Rust Boar with a powerful ram; the impact ruptured Rust Boar’s batteries and caused the robot to start smoking copiously. Great White drove away, accidentally throwing Spin Doctor off-balance with another ram, before attempting to damage Wild Beast’s left-hand side with two separate hits.
In response, Wild Beast threw Great White onto its spinner with its own drum; Great White hesitated as the latter attacked and immobilized Spin Doctor, only to graze one of the rotors of Wild Beast’s drone. Again, it was deflected and shepherded into one of the grinders by Wild Beast, the grinder throwing Great White into a somersault as it landed back on its wheels. Great White drove away, and retaliated with a few more powerful hits on Wild Beast, one of which tore the Chinese machine’s left-hand wedge clean off. It was again pushed, deflected and thrown into the air by Wild Beast; the two competitors slammed into each other again just before the battle was stopped prematurely after Rust Boar’s internal fire left the arena engulfed in smoke. The resulting Judges’ decision ruled in favor of Great White and Spin Doctor.
This is Fighting Robots (Season 1.5)
Entering as a challenger, Great White impressed two celebrities, who opted to include Great White on their team at the expense of an existing member of their team. Steven Martin favoured Wu Chun, and fought his representative White Tiger Guardian for a place on the red team.
Great White didn't move much at first as it got its weapon up to speed, allowing White Tiger Guardian to make the first strike by hitting Great White head-on with its vertical spinner, although the impact didn't seem to cause that much visible damage to Great White. As the Chinese machine backed away for another assault, driving over Remora in the process, Great White made its first attack by smashing into the side of White Tiger Guardian, ripping its entire side panel off. Turning around, Great White then made another attack this time to the back of its opponent, the impact causing the entire machine to fly into the air and land upside down. With seemingly no way of self-righting, the Chinese machine was counted out and declared immobile. This meant that Great White could then enter the competition as part of the red team.
In the head-to-head round, Great White's reputation was respected, as Wu Chun would repeatedly select it to battle all available opponents, but most celebrities would decline the opportunity to battle it. Eventually, Zheng Shuang accepted the prospect of battling Great White using Cat King, equipped with its vertical spinner, turning down a battle against Vulcan to do so.
While both robots powered up their vertical spinners, Zheng Shuang immediately placed the fog in front of Great White's team, obscuring their vision. Cat King capitalized on this by charging straight into Great White's wedge, throwing the machine high into the air, and causing Great White to bounce into the arena wall. Cat King held Great White in the corner of the arena, and targeted the back end of the machine, throwing sparks. With a bigger attack, Cat King then rocketed Great White into the angled plexiglass wall.
Great White landed inverted, and its spinner made repeated hits on the floor until Great White was finally righted. Both robots met weapon-to-weapon, while Great White's minibot Remora repeatedly missed Cat King. Great White and Cat King hit each other face on twice, knocking both robots back equally, but the second contact caused Great White's weapon belt to slip. Immediately afterwards, Cat King drove under Great White, and threw it over the wall in the corner of the arena, for a victory by ring-out. Cat King celebrated by hitting Remora, and claimed its victory. Cat King was eliminated soon afterwards.
- "As soon as we got into the battle, they used the smokescreen in front of us. And then after that, two more big hits and the robot was sitting outside the arena. But it all happened so quickly, and Cat King worked really really well. It was all over before I really knew what was happening!"
- — Steven Martin
|GREAT WHITE - RESULTS|
|King of Bots (Season 1)|
|Round 1||vs. Spin Doctor||Won|
|Round 2||vs. Hunting Wind||Won|
|Round 3||vs. Tánshè||Won|
|Round 4||vs. Chiyung Jinlun||Lost|
Partnered with Spin Doctor
|2v2||vs. Rust Boar & Wild Beast||Won|
|This is Fighting Robots (Season 1.5)|
|Challenger Round||vs. White Tiger Guardian||Won|
|Episode 8, 1v1||vs. Cat King||Lost|
- Wins: 5
- Losses: 2
|Series||Great White Series Record|
|Season 1||Round 4|
|Season 1.5||Zheng Shuang's team, Top 20|
|Season 2||Did not enter|
Outside King of Bots
Steven Martin entered ABC's second season of BattleBots with Death Roll, another aquatic-themed robot much like Great White. It was designed to look like a crocodile and was armed with a vertical spinning blade, this time shaped as a stylized outline of Australia, and a rear 'tail' to be used as a lifter or self-righting mechanism. It was eliminated in the first round of the tournament by Captain Shrederator, also losing an unaired three-way rumble when it became stuck on the arena wall.
A new version of Death Roll competed at BattleBots for its second time, in the 2019 season, carrying over design improvements made to Great White in order to finish in third place. In its first battle, Death Roll faced the New Zealand entry End Game, fighting for Australian pride. Despite being on the receiving end of several hits which sent Death Roll careening across the arena, Death Roll secured a come-from-behind victory by flipping End Game over with its spinner, having broken the self-righting mechanism of End Game during the battle. Its second fight then saw Death Roll immobilize Foxtrot in a matter of seconds. After this, Death Roll became the first robot of the season to reach a 3-0 record, and indeed a 4-0 record, courtesy of its wins against Quantum and ROTATOR, qualifying for the Top 16 as an undefeated robot. It competed in the Top 16 as the sixth seed and collected a dominant win over the experienced Yeti, knocked out the defending runner-up Minotaur in the quarter-final, before finally being knocked out by Witch Doctor on a split decision in the semi-final.
In February 2020, Death Roll was confirmed to return for the 2020 season of BattleBots, scheduled to start airing on Discovery on May 15th. However, due to travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, they weren't able to attend that season
Neon, the original incarnation of Remora, was initially constructed by Ellis Ware for the FRA Featherweight World Championship in 2017. Built in just two days using spare heavyweight components and featuring speeds of up to 26mph, Neon placed ninth out of fifty robots competing at the championship, and would also compete in the 2018 UK International Championships under its original identity. For more information on Ellis Ware's excursions outside of King of Bots, see Sandstorm.
- In direct translation from the King of Bots website, Great White was known as Jaws.
- With its 4-1 combat record in Season 1 (5-2 by the end of This is Fighting Robots), Great White quickly became the most successful Australian heavyweight robot ever built, taking the title from RoboGames competitor Huntsman and only later succeeding the title to the team’s very own Death Roll.
- Great White's profile on the King of Bots website (Chinese)
- Steven Martin's opinions on Great White's loss to Chiyung Jinlun
- Twisted Constructions (Great White) Facebook page
- Death Roll Facebook page