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For the other team sometimes known as Team Kat, see Team KaterKiller.

"Make it interesting"
— Team motto

The Cold Fusion Team (or Team Kat under captaincy of the Barnwells) is a very experienced team from Robot Wars, though its membership has changed over the years. They fought across eight main series and two series of Robot Wars Extreme, making them the longest competing team in Robot Wars, equal with Team Make Robotics.

The Cold Fusion team created four heavyweight robots; Bodyhammer, which reached the Grand Final of Series 1, Pussycat, an extremely successful robot that finished second in Series 4, as well as winning five side competitions and an international event, Kill-E-Crank-E, responsible for eliminating Razer in the first round of Series 8, and finally Crank-E, which fought in Series 9. The team also entered two featherweight robots; Katnip in Extreme Series 2 and Kitty in Extreme 2 and Series 7.

The team was originally named because Herrick, Dayton-Lovett and Jones were nuclear engineers. However, while none of these men remained on the team, it took on the name of Stuart Barnwell's Team Kat (not to be confused with Team KaterKiller, who sometimes went by that name).

Throughout Robot Wars, the Cold Fusion team were always willing to lend a hand. In Series 7, Alan Gribble even helped M2 repair its flipper at the last minute, despite knowing that M2's next battle would be against Pussycat. The team were recognised for their helpfulness in Series 5 when they won the Sportsmanship award.

The Team[]

Herrick, Dayton-Lovett and Jones

The Cold Fusion Team featured more members than any other team, changing over the years. The team was originally formed by Robin Herrick, who formed the team with some of his work colleagues from the Remote Operations Team at Barnwood[1]; Andrew Dayton-Lovett and Steve Jones. All three of them were Cold Fusion engineers.

David Gribble was brought in as a driver for Series 2, and subsequently, his father Alan and their next door neighbour Robert Bettington joined the team.

Cold Fusion team at the time of Series 4

For the Celebrity Special shown as part of the Christmas specials in December 2000, the team were joined by the actor Adam Woodyatt. As per the rules, he had to control the machine for sixty seconds before he was permitted to hand the controls over to the roboteers. His fellow EastEnders star Natalie Cassidy also joined the team after the robot she was controlling, Iron-Awe lost to Pussycat in Round 1.

Tribute to David Gribble at the end of Extreme, Episode 1

Robin Herrick left the team after Series 4, and after Series 5, the team was rocked by tragedy. On Saturday 13th October 2001, shortly after Extreme Series 1 and Series 5 had been filmed, David Gribble, Pussycat's driver, was involved in a motorcycle accident and did not recover. A book of condolences was compiled on the official Robot Wars website, a memorial was shown at the end of the first episode of Robot Wars Extreme Series 1, and the last issue of the first Robot Wars Magazine was dedicated to his memory. This was the main reason behind Pussycat not returning for Series 6. However, Alan Gribble did act as a technical consultant for that series, and was seen helping teams in the pits. He would also fulfil this role during Series 7.

The team in Series 7

Stuart Barnwell joined the team for Extreme Series 2 as the team's new driver, and due to Alan and Ann Gribble working on the Technical Crew in Series 7, they were not able to compete[2], so Stuart competed with his parents Amanda and Roger. At this point the team was known as Team Kat for convenience, and it was also the name of the team's official website. The team continued in this guise until the return of Robin Herrick in Series 8.

Original team captain Robin Herrick later returned for the reboot, reforming the team with new members.


Team Members[]

Robin Herrick[]

Robin Herrick at the controls of Bodyhammer

The original team captain, it was Robin Herrick who originally found out about Robot Wars and formed the team.

"We got involved through the Internet - I saw an advert for the programme on there"
— Robin Herrick on finding Robot Wars[3]

Robin acted as the Team Captain for Series 1 through 3. He designed Bodyhammer, and drove it in Series 1.

He also designed Pussycat and came up with the name[4].

"He was tired of the old conical shapes and definitely didn't want a wedge or a flipper, the robot had to run in any attitude. We talked a tossed around lot's of ideas. Robin came up with a few sketches, we talked an awful lot more and very soon Robin came up with some pretty good mechanical drawings."
— Alan Gribble, interviewed on Tectonic Robot Wars

On the Team Cold Fusion website, he cited his favourite battle as Pussycat's battle with Thermidor 2 in the Series 4 Semi-Finals.

However, he was only part of the team for the Semis onwards in Series 4, and subsequently left the team entirely, due to him living in Scotland. After moving away from the rest of the team in 2001, Robin Herrick, still working in the nuclear industry, briefly experimented with a heavyweight walking robot with a hydraulic hammer and petrol engine but this came to nothing when the TV show ended and the distance made travel to live events too onerous.

"I'm not really in the team anymore because I live a very long way away. I'm designing a new robot by myself. Look out for it in Series 8!"
— Robin Herrick on the Cold Fusion team website[5]

Now running his own engineering design business, Robin made a sudden return to the robot fighting scene in 2016, re-forming the Cold Fusion Team with three new team members, his son Matthew Herrick, Matthew's friend Isaac Potts, and late entry Nick Wells from Aberdeen. Their robot, Kill-E-Crank-E, designed and built over a 6-week period just prior to filming (with the assistance of Caithness businesses JGC Engineering & Technical Services and Precision Machining Services), participated in Heat 1 of Series 8 of Robot Wars.

Andrew Dayton-Lovett[]

Phillipa Forrester interviews Steve Jones and Andrew Dayton-Lovett

One of the founding members of the team, Andrew was in charge of build, project management and logistics.

In Series 1, he did not appear in the control booth during any of Bodyhammer's appearances. He did have some speaking roles, albeit only before and after the battle with Torque of the Devil.

Phillipa Forrester: "Who would you hate?"
Andrew Dayton-Lovett: "Uh, anyone as big as we are!"
Phillipa Forrester: "Who would you like!"
Andrew Dayton-Lovett: "Uh, anybody very small, with no armour!"
— Andrew Dayton-Lovett jokes about which robot he would like to fight before Phillipa Forrester reveals Bodyhammer's Arena stage opponent

He returned for Series 2, but did not have a speaking role, mostly because Bodyhammer went out in the Gauntlet stage.

Steve Jones[]

Another founder member of the team, Steve Jones was the team's composites specialist. He only competed with the team in Series 1, where he accompanied Robin in the control booth during the Arena stage battles.

Robin was the team's main speaker in post-battle interviews and the team's introductions, though Steve did have some brief speaking roles throughout his only appearance. However, a lot of them were edited out of the televised show. For example, he had an interview with Philippa Forrester after the Gauntlet, but this was mostly cut from the televised show, apart from a brief clip, shown after the Heat Final. Phillipa Forrester asked him about the removal of Bodyhammer's hammer before the Torque of the Devil battle, and this was included, but his interviews with Phillipa Forrester before and after the Heat Final were cut. These clips would later be included in the Robot Wars: The First Great War video[6].

David Gribble[]

David Gribble with Pussycat

"David Gribble is our driver. He's a radio-controlled car champion and the best 'bot driver in the world. Probably. David has just started college and wants to work in special effects."
— Robin Herrick on the Cold Fusion Team website

After Series 1, the team looked for a Remote Control expert, and found David Gribble, choosing him due to his experience with remote controlled cars. He made his first appearance in Series 2, where he drove Bodyhammer.

"The Cold Fusion Team needed a good driver, and some help finishing their robot Bodyhammer. The Team visited our local radio control racing club, where they spotted David, he is the club two wheel drive champion."
— Alan Gribble on joining Cold Fusion Team, interviewed on Tectonic Robot Wars[7]

David became well-known for being one of the best drivers in Robot Wars. In Series 4, he introduced himself as "the best driver known to Robot Wars" during Pussycat's introduction. He was consistently praised by Robot Wars presenters; Julia Reed also described him as "the best driver" before Pussycat's battle with Tornado in the All-Stars Tournament of Extreme 1, and Philippa Forrester described him as "one of the best drivers in the field" at the start of Heat L of Series 5, and Craig Charles often praised his driving in post-battle interviews.

He shared speaking roles in the team's interviews with team captains Robin Herrick and Alan Gribble.

Robert Bettington[]

"Rob Bettington lives next door to Alan and David but seems to spend a lot of time in the workshop helping Alan with the robot. Rob's dad Malcolm did the welding in the top section of Pussycat. Rob's also a good radio-controlled car driver and wants a career in engineering."
— Team Cold Fusion website on Robert Bettington[8]

Robert Bettington was Alan and David Gribble's neighbour. He competed with the team between Series 3 and 5, also competing in Extreme 1. He was the weapons operator, and also helped on the construction of Pussycat, helping in the Gribble family's workshop. His father also helped with the welding on Pussycat.

He was actually responsible for designing the four-pointed blade used from Series 4 onwards, as well as the two-tooth blade it was interchangeable with from Extreme 1. The team patented the design.

Craig Charles: "It seems to be better than the circular saws, 'cause it can rip things a bit more, can't it? Shred it!"
Robert Bettington: "It's got a bigger surface area for the impact, so it tends to launch stuff instead of cut through it!"
— Robert Bettington explains the blade after Pussycat's battle with Robochicken in Series 4

He was absent for the Series 4 Semi-Finals and Grand Final, where his place was filled by Robin Herrick. He did not return after David's death.

On the Team Cold Fusion website, he cited his favourite battle as Pussycat beating Razer. [9]

He frequently contributed to interviews, although the main contributors were usually the team captain (Robin or Alan) and the driver David.

Alan Gribble (Series 4-5, Extreme 1-2)[]

"I got involved with Robot Wars via my son David, ... I have a small engineering business and was able to help out with finishing Bodyhammer."
— Alan Gribble on joining Cold Fusion Team[10]

David's father, Alan Gribble joined the team after his son became the driver. Although he didn't appear on the show until Series 4, he had been involved in the construction side of the team for years before, helping with Bodyhammer before Series 2, and helping to construct Pussycat. A self-employed engineer specializing in the repair of automated machines used in the production of electric motors, his engineering facilities were used to produce the rolling chassis of Pussycat, and he hand painted the robot for Series 4 onwards.

He became Team Captain between Series 4 and 5, after Robin Herrick left the team. His favourite battle was the Round 1 Melee of Series 4, [11]

He also joined the Technical Crew for Series 6, when the team were not competing due to the death of David. He can be seen helping to fix Wild Thing. However, when the Robot Wars producers changed the rules in Series 7, so that members of the Technical Crew could not compete as well, he was forced to leave Pussycat to Stuart Barnwell and his family.

He cited his favourite robot as Wheelosaurus in an interview on Tectonic Robot Wars.

"...it wasn't expensive or particularly well built, but it got a lot of people into Robot Wars that otherwise would have thought it was all too difficult and expensive. In reality it didn't perform too badly either."
— Alan Gribble, interviewed on Tectonic Robot Wars

Ann Gribble[]

Ann Gribble

Ann Gribble only appeared on the show in Extreme 2, where she competed with Pussycat in the Tag Team Terror and Iron Maidens, and with Kitty in the Featherweight Championship. Pussycat went out early in the Tag Team Terror, and Kitty fell in the first round of the Featherweight Championship, but she made a more substantial appearance in the Iron Maidens, where she captained and drove Pussycat, reaching the Final, before losing to Chompalot. She admitted to only having one hour to practice beforehand, but Craig Charles mentioned after the final how her control improved as the tournament went on.

She joined her husband Alan on the Technical Crew for Series 7, so she was not allowed to compete, so the Barnwell family took over the controls of the team's robots, entering Pussycat in the UK Championship, and Kitty and Kat-Nip in the Featherweight Championship.

Stuart Barnwell[]

Stuart Barnwell

As the Cold Fusion team began to recover, Alan sought out a new driver. At the time, Rex Garrod from Team Cassius had been running a feature called Rex's Robot Challenge for Real Robots magazine, which explained in detail how to build a featherweight robot. Stuart Barnwell was building a robot for that challenge, following the magazine, but ended up speaking to Alan via email for advice and the two became friends.

Alan offered to make the weapon for Barnwell's robot, which was Katnip, out of metal as his plastic one was not strong enough. After the tragic death of David, Alan invited Stuart to become the team's new driver. He practiced with Kitty

Stuart Barnwell also had his own team called Team Kat, which merged with the Cold Fusion team in Extreme 2. Pussycat returned for this series, entered by Alan Gribble, his wife Ann and Stuart Barnwell. The team also entered two featherweights: Kitty, entered by Alan and Ann, and Katnip, entered by Stuart and his parents Roger and Amanda. As Alan Gribble was a technical consultant for Series 7 and not allowed to enter a robot, Stuart Barnwell took over as team captain, and entered Pussycat and Kitty alongside his parents. Although both now worked for the show, Alan and Ann remained part of the team behind the scenes.

In an interview for Robonerd 2020, he cited his favourite battle as the Series 7 All-Stars final, and Terrorhurtz as his favourite robot[12].

Stuart Barnwell also joined the Tomahawk team in Series 7. Tomahawk captain Paul Kendrick's wife was heavily pregnant during the filming, and since Tomahawk's controls required a second team member to operate the axe, Kendrick asked Barnwell to assist him in the main competition. Stuart Barnwell had agreed to operate the axe, but ended up driving instead, as he had experience driving the robot at some live events. Paul Kendrick lived near to Stuart Barnwell, and was good friends with him, taking him to a number of live events, where he gained experience driving Tomahawk.

Amanda Barnwell[]

Amanda Barnwell in Series 7

Stuart's mother, Amanda had competed with Stuart's robot Katnip before Stuart joined Team Cold Fusion, and she entered the Featherweight Championship of Extreme 2 with Katnip alongside her son, whilst the other half of the team fought with Kitty. She operated Katnip's weapon.

As Alan Gribble was not allowed to compete in Series 7 due to being part of the Technical Crew, Amanda joined the Pussycat team, acting as the weapons operator.

Roger Barnwell[]

"I'm the ideas man, and he's [Stuart Barnwell]] the one that had his own ideas!"
— Roger Barnwell in Series 7

Stuart's father, Roger had helped Stuart with Rex's Robot Challenge, which led to him joining Team Kat.

As Alan and Ann Gribble were not allowed to compete in Series 7 due to being part of the Technical Crew, Roger joined the Pussycat team. For unknown reasons, he was absent from the All-Stars, and the Extreme 2 Featherweight Championship.

Matthew Herrick[]

The Cold Fusion team enter the arena

Robin's son, Matthew joined the team for the reboot. He was the weapons operator for Kill-E-Crank-E[13] and Crank-E[14].

Isaac Potts[]

A friend of Matthew Herrick's, Isaac was part of the team when they entered Kill-E-Crank-E and Crank-E teams. The Robot Wars website lists his role as "Testing control system and helper".

He was also the the teams standby weapons operator, but never filled the role due to first-choice weapons operator Matthew being present for Series 8 and 9.

Nick Wells[]

A friend of Robin Herrick's, Nick only competed with the team when they entered Kill-E-Crank-E. The Robot Wars website list his role as "General helper". He did not have a speaking role in the team's pre or post battle interview, unlike the other three members of the Kill-E-Crank-E team.

Mike Potts[]

The Cold Fusion Team with Crank-E

The father of Isaac Potts, Mike joined the team for Series 9, taking the place of Nick Wells. A nuclear safety consultant and Drone builder, his role was Control and Electric Mechanics. Like Nick Wells, he did not have a speaking role in the team's interview.

Robots[]

Name Weight Class Series
Bodyhammer Heavyweight Series 1-2
Pussycat Heavyweight Series 3-5, 7,
Extreme 1-2, US Season 1
Katnip Featherweight Extreme 2
Kitty Featherweight Extreme 2, Series 7
Kill-E-Crank-E Heavyweight Series 8
Crank-E Heavyweight Series 9

Wins/Losses[]

  • Wins: 37
  • Losses: 16
  • NOTE 1: Bodyhammer's Gauntlet and Trial runs are not included
  • NOTE 2: Pussycat's overturned victory against Scutter's Revenge is considered to be a loss

Series Record[]

UK Series[]

Main Series Cold Fusion Team Series Record
The First Wars Grand Final with Bodyhammer
The Second Wars Heat, Gauntlet with Bodyhammer
The Third Wars Heat Final with Pussycat
The Fourth Wars Runner-up with Pussycat
The Fifth Wars Semi-Finals, Round 2 with Pussycat
The Sixth Wars Did not enter
The Seventh Wars Heat, Round 2 with Pussycat
Featherweight Championship, Round 1 with Kitty
Series 8 Heat, Round 1 with Kill-E-Crank-E (Robin Herrick)
Heat Final with Dantomkia (Stuart Barnwell)
Series 9 Heat, Round 1 with Crank-E (Robin Herrick)
Entered with Push to Exit (Stuart Barnwell)
Series 10 Did not enter
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Entered with Pussycat
Series 2 Entered with Pussycat, Kitty and Katnip

US Series[]

US Series Cold Fusion Team Series Record
Season 1 War of Independence Champion with Pussycat
Season 2 Did not enter
Nickelodeon Did not enter

Outside Robot Wars[]

Pink Pants at Techno Games

Like many Robot Wars Teams, Cold Fusion Team also entered spin-off show Techno Games. The team, with Alan, David and Roger Gribble, built Twigworth Breaker for the Shot-Putt in 2001, which was designed by Robin Herrick and built by Alan. It barely managed to launch the ball out of the cage on the first throw (only throwing the ball to 2.00m) and on the second throw failing and actually going up vertically upon launch and being caught by Alan Gribble.

Alan, Ann and Stuart later entered Techno Games 2003 with a weapon-less Pussycat as Pink Pants.  It competed in the Football, along with a weapon-less pink fur clad TX-108, which was under the name RaMyA (Razer My Arse), but lost to Typhoon Rover and Typhoon 870 in Round 1. Pink Pants also competed in the Assault Course, where Kane Aston of Team Make Robotics joined the team as Alan Gribble needed a better driver[15].

"It's called Pink Pants because it's pink, and I'm a pants driver! So we've got Kane doing the driving, hopefully he'll do a better job than I ever could!"
— Alan Gribble in Techno Games

However, Pink Pants lost in the first round to Incy Wincy.

The team still occasionally made an appearance in the touring organisation Roaming Robots, with Stuart, Amanda and Roger Barnwell and Ann Gribble making up the team. Robin Herrick also made a one-off appearance at the Robot Wars live tour in 2016 with Kill-E-Crank-E. Of the three robots that were entered into Robot Wars by Team Kat, none of them are still in the possession of the team; Katnip was scrapped in 2007, Pussycat briefly came into the possession of John Findlay of Team Roaming Robots (but was only used for static display) and Kitty has also been sold.

"Technology moves on and technology costs money, which at the moment we are not prepared to move on with, we have no money"
— Team Website

KR3-SP2

KX

After Robot Wars, Team Kat also entered a featherweight called KX, which was built in 2006 but has since retired from fighting altogether. In 2014, KX was turned into GiAnto by Shane Lale of Team Tilly. The team also built an invertible featherweight ramming robot originally called KatRip but was eventually renamed KR2 and then renamed again as KR3-SP2, which never fought in competitive battles. Alan Gribble died of cancer on November 1st, 2013 at the age of 63[16].

Ann Gribble made her return to robotic combat in late 2017, after being invited to join various teams captained by Ian Watts. Alongside the consistent team members of Ian and Sam Watts, Ann Gribble competed on three different TV shows with:

  • The Grubs, a four-part clusterbot entered into the Chinese show King of Bots.
  • Eater, a two-part clusterbot entered into the Chinese show This is Fighting Robots.
  • The Four Horsemen, a four-part clusterbot entered into the 2018 and 2019 seasons of the American show BattleBots.

For more information on these machines, see Team Big Brother.

Trivia[]

  • Team Chaos and the Cold Fusion Team were the only two teams from the Series 1 Grand Final to enter Series 4.
  • Cold Fusion Team/Team Kat is the only team to have competed on the televised show in the first and Seventh Wars.
    • Robin Herrick is the only roboteer to have competed in both Series 1 and Series 8 or 9.
  • The Cold Fusion team has seen more team members than any other, and is the only team to have entered both the first series of the original run and either of the rebooted series.
  • Although the original team members worked together, they all came from different parts of the country; Robin was from Gloucestershire, Steve Jones was from Cambridge and Andrew Daton-Lovett was from London[17].
  • The band Inkwell performed a song named The Tragedy of David Gribble live, to commemorate the life of David Gribble.[18]
  • There is a Facebook page to remember David Gribble, which can be found here.
  • Typhoon 2, Apollo, Carbide and Eruption are the only Grand Champions that the Cold Fusion Team did not fight, though the team did compete against Team Typhoon in Techno Games, having fought them in the Football event. If this is included, Cold Fusion are the only team to have fought all six UK champions from the original run.
  • Due to Bodyhammer falling in the Gauntlet of Series 2, while Pussycat won its three battles in Series 3 before being disqualified, the Cold Fusion Team did not lose a single combat battle in the main Robot Wars competition between their appearances in the Grand Finals of Series 1 and 4.
  • During Pussycat's second battle with Tornado in Robot Wars Extreme, David Gribble wore a Wild Thing t-shirt, inverting the 'W' to mockingly call the robot 'Mild Thing'.

External Links[]

Honours[]


References[]


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