- "Beta is this vicious electric hammer-- being hit by Beta's hammer is something like being hit by a washing machine that's been dropped off someone's roof!"
- — John Reid
Basher, otherwise known as Beta, was a heavyweight robot built by Grant Cooper. It exclusively took part in the unaired Series 8 pilot episode. Grant Cooper was a producer of the show, so Basher and Team Robo Challenge could not compete in the main competition.
Due to John Reid designing the first version of Beta, and being part of its team when the robot competed in BattleBots, Basher is most commonly seen as a Team Hurtz machine, although Basher is in fact owned by Robo Challenge.
Basher was armed with an 11kg rounded hammer, powered electrically. The hammer was extremely effective at causing trauma damage to robots, while also allowing the robot to self-right. It could even allow the robot to throw itself over or somersault while right-side up. Basher's front scoop was made of HARDOX, and ran extremely close to the ground, however it could be raised up and down before a match to help with driving and it featured its own shock absorbers. Basher's main weakness was its exposed hammer mechanism.
- Main article: Robo Challenge
Basher was primarily built by Grant Cooper, one half of Robo Challenge and a producer of Robot Wars. Grant Cooper drove Basher in its only Robot Wars battle during the pilot, before maintaining his backstage role for the remainder of the reboot.
Basher is also commonly associated with John Reid of Team Hurtz, as he designed the original version of Beta, to which Basher was the successor. John Reid was also part of the team as the lead speaker and driver when Basher competed in the 2016 season of BattleBots under its original Beta name. Nevertheless, John Reid was not involved with Basher during the filming of Robot Wars.
Although the robot did not participate in the main series of Robot Wars in Series 8, producers Robo Challenge entered their robot Basher into the pilot episode, used to test the arena and camera equipment.
Basher first entered a four-way melee against Ka-Pow!, Tanto, and Turbulence. Basher was aggressive in its performance, where Tanto first became immobilised, knocking out its safety link by driving over Ka-Pow! which prompted Basher to capitalise. Basher pitted the defeated Tanto, but in the process it overbalanced and fell into the pit itself, eliminating both robots from the competition.
|BASHER - RESULTS|
|Series 8 - Pilot Episode|
|Pilot Episode, Group Battle||vs. Ka-Pow!, Tanto, Turbulence||Eliminated|
|Series||Basher Series Record|
|Series 1-7||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Pilot only|
Outside Robot Wars
Due to exclusivity clauses, Basher competes outside of Robot Wars under the name of Beta. Beta was originally built to compete in Season 5.0. of BattleBots, as the successor to their previous success, Killerhurtz. John Reid was joined by George Francis in this season. Beta's scheduled fight had it take on Bender, but the magnets within Beta's hammer were continually pulling up the flooring of the BattleBox, and thus, Beta were forced to withdraw.
In 2015, Beta returned to BattleBots once more, in the new rebooted series, with John Reid and Dave Moulds forming the team. The robot's builder Grant Cooper was supposed to be part of the team, as the team captain, but could not compete due to the delay of his son's birth. Beta was drawn up against the eventual runner-up, Tombstone, which had even placed a "Beta Blocker" atop the robot for extra defense against Beta's hammer. Unfortunately, over 25kg of Beta's components were lost during the flight between the UK and USA, and so, Beta was forced to withdraw for a second series in a row, where it was replaced by reserve robot, Counter Revolution. However, Beta's profile was still released on the BattleBots website.
Beta returned to finally compete in the 2016 season of BattleBots. It did so under the entry of Grant Cooper and John Reid, while 2015 team member Dave Moulds entered with Cobalt. In Beta's first battle, it won a close Judges' decision over Lucky, and in the second round it became the second British robot in a row to defeat Overhaul. In the Round of 16, Beta faced and defeated Nightmare (a robot Killerhurtz defeated 17 years prior) via KO with four seconds left on the clock to reach the Quarter Finals, where it lost a close Judges' decision to the eventual champion Tombstone, the robot it was meant to fight in the previous series, after its hammer was dislodged. Beta was also released as a remote controlled model with an active hammer, under the BattleBots brand.
In the United Kingdom, Basher competed at one Robots Live event, which was the robot's combat debut, inbetween the 2015 and 2016 seasons of BattleBots. It was permitted to use the Beta name and in a test battle with no audience it was able to immobilise Chronic with repeated hammer blows before being thrown out of the arena in the restarted fight.
In September 2018, Beta appeared at the first Robonerd meet alongside Terrorhurtz and various other competitors from Robot Wars, BattleBots and King of Bots.
In the latter half of 2020, John Reid collaborated with Gabriel Stroud and Alan Cannon of Team Legion to build a brand-new version of Beta (also known as 2Beta) for the 2020 season of BattleBots, using a more compact design with greatly improved internals and new pneumatically powered hammers with four times the power of the previous Beta machine. Beta's first televised battle in four years proved greatly controversial, for Beta was able to control its opponent ROTATOR around the BattleBox for the full three minutes, but never once fired its weapon, with the hammer head also being ripped off by ROTATOR in the late stages. The judges awarded Beta with the victory by split decision, on the basis of its control and aggression. In reality, this was Beta's third fight to be filmed - Beta had previously won its first fight against Rusty, immobilising its opponent after two hammer blows. A knockout victory over GRABOT meant that Beta had finished its Fight Night with a record of 3-0, qualifying it for the main competition as the 13th seed. It was drawn against Ribbot where Beta used a new armour attachment to protect it from Ribbot's vertical spinner, but Beta was swiftly immobilised by its opponent, eliminating it in the Round of 32. Beta also competed in the Bounty Hunters tournament as a "legendary" robot, where it was challenged by Lock-Jaw. Beta lost the fight after being overturned by Lock-Jaw's spinner and was unable to right itself.
Beta was due to return again for the 2021 season of BattleBots, however had to withdraw due to all British teams being unable to process their relevant visas in time for filming.
- In the World Series, the metal wedge of Basher appears by JAR alongside Alan Gubiev during a VT segment on his World Series competitor Weber.
- In 2017, Basher (under its BattleBots name, Beta) received an Honorable Mention in the The Combat Robot Hall of Fame, owing to its popularity, powerful hammer and Team Hurtz's perseverance in their attempts to enter it into earlier seasons of BattleBots.
- Beta's profile on the BattleBots website (Season 1)
- Beta's profile on the BattleBots website (Season 2)
- Beta on BattleBots wiki