"If at first you don't succeed, you are above average"
— Rex Garrod's motto

Team Cassius was a team from Stowmarket in Suffolk which entered the first three series of Robot Wars, reaching the Grand Final on two occasions with their flipper robots Recyclopse and Cassius.

Team Members[edit | edit source]

"I was handed a pack of information by Tim Hunkin, who had received it from the Science Museum. I thought it would be a good education exercise for kids (including old kids like me)."
— Rex Garrod on entering Robot Wars[1]

Team Cassius was founded by Rex Garrod. Together with Simon West, George Francis and Mick Cutter, they first entered the original series of Robot Wars, building two robots; Recyclopse and Robot the Bruce. George Francis and Mick Cutter did the electronics for the robots, whilst Simon and Rex did the mechanics[2].

An informal battle between two Robot Wars greats

George Francis and Mick Cutter entered Robot the Bruce as a separate entry, and George Francis would go on to form his own team, Team Chaos, but he would continue to use Rex Garrod’s workshop. The two continued to work closely together, with George helping Rex with the electronics on Cassius, and Rex helping with the mechanics of Chaos. Chaos 2's first ever battle being an informal roadside skirmish with Cassius, which Chaos 2 won 4-1[3].

"Chaos 2 is the first robot of mine that I did the majority of the mechanical construction on. I've always done all of the electronics on my robots, this year I've done most of the mechanics and pneumatics as well. Rex made the high pressure rams, some valve adaptors, and the wheel hubs. Obviously he also supplied most of the materials, lots of advice, fixed some gear wheels, and supplied loads of coffee!"
— George Francis on the Chaos 2 website[4]

Rex Garrod[edit | edit source]

Rex Garrod with Philippa Forrester

Rex Garrod repairs Cassius

"This one of the great characters of Robot Wars"
— Jonathan Pearce describes Rex Garrod during Cassius’s Series 2 Semi Final Gauntlet run

Rex Garrod was a former children's television presenter and engineer, who worked on special effects. He drove Recyclopse and the original Cassius, and operated the weapons.

He was well known for his cheery and sporting demeanour and always helped other roboteers to modify and repair their robots when problems arose. He was also reluctant to attack other robots once they had been immobilised, preferring to attack the House Robots.

Philippa Forrester: "If there were other people around, who were much younger than you, that had put a lot of time into a robot, and you were up against them, what would be your options?"
Rex Garrod: "Well I couldn’t possibly destroy them, for all the rice in China, I couldn’t do that! That’s against the principles of 3p. I wanna encourage kids to build ‘em, I won’t destroy them, so if I could immobilise them without doing them any harm, yes, but I certainly go out to destroy them, no way. Now a House Robot, that’s different!"
— Rex Garrod explains his views in Heat H of Series 2

A keen innovator, Rex Garrod is credited for the creation of the flipper weapon on Robot Wars, and for the invention of the self-righting mechanism. Garrod was often critical of his own driving skill, having driven Cassius into the pit on two different occasions, but was nevertheless successful in his first two Robot Wars campaigns, reaching the Grand Final twice.

Simon West[edit | edit source]

The team in Series 1, controlling Recyclopse

A friend of Rex Garrod, Simon West was an engineer, who was part of the team in all three of the team’s appearances. He had helped build the team’s robots, including Robot the Bruce. He left the speaking in all the team’s introductions and interviews to Rex, and in Series 3, Mick Cutter as well, apart from a brief comment to Phillipa Forrester after Cassius 2’s shock exit in Round 2 of Series 3.

Edward Bull[edit | edit source]

The team in Series 2, controlling Cassius

Only part of the team for Series 2, he did not have a speaking role.

Mick Cutter[edit | edit source]

The team in Series 3

The team in Series 3, controlling Cassius 2

Having competed with George Francis for Series 1 and 2, Mick Cutter rejoined Team Cassius for Series 3.

"Mike Cutter, my team member for the last two years has been poached by Rex to drive Cassius 2 for him. (I didn't realize just how good a driver Mike was until he won the East Anglian Regional R/C Model Car Championship.) That's my loss, Rex's gain…"
— George Francis on website[5]

Taking over the role of driver, Mick Cutter shared Rex’s feelings about preferring to attack House Robots rather than causing unnecessary damage to beaten opponents. Unfortunately, he drove into the pit in Round 2 in his only appearance, and never competed again as the team retired.

Notable Achievements[edit | edit source]

Cassius self-righting during its Series 2 Pinball run, the first time that a UK Robot Wars competitor would do so

  • Recyclopse initially set the record for the shortest battle in the UK series of Robot Wars, flipping Scrapper over in 15 seconds in their Arena Semi-Final. However, this was beaten later on in Series 1 by featherweight and fellow Grand Finalist Cunning Plan, and the most recent record was set by Rapid in Series 10, at 5.6 seconds.
  • Cassius was nominated for both Best Design and Best Engineered Awards in Series 2, but lost both.
  • Cassius was also the first UK robot to successfully self-right, doing so in its Series 2 Pinball run and its Grand Final Eliminator against Roadblock later that same series. This meant that Rex Garrod is often credited with having invented the self-righting mechanism, despite Chaos having first attempted to right itself earlier on in Series 2, and various US robots - including BioHazard and Vlad the Impaler - having successfully done so in the original US Robot Wars events.
  • Team Cassius is one of only four teams to reach multiple Grand Finals with multiple robots, having reached the Series 1 Final with Recyclopse, and the Series 2 Final with Cassius. The other three teams to have done this are Team Chaos, Cold Fusion Team and Team Shock.

Garrod's Protest[edit | edit source]

"The number one thing, to remember all the time - safety! ... It isn't a toy, this is really dangerous! And it's a job sometimes to get people to realise this!"
— Rex Garrod on the dangers of building robots, interviewed in The Builder's Guide on Robot Wars: The First Great War[6]

Rex Garrod harboured an intense resentment for several of the rules in earlier series of Robot Wars, as he felt many were unnecessary whilst other aspects of the show's safety procedures were grossly unattended.

"...most of them stupid, and written by some twerp who sits behind a desk, has never got his / her hands dirty, and never made anything, let alone a sophisticated machine like a robot. And furthermore, so intoxicated with self importance and will not seek help from professionals or listen to experts, who could help them."
— Rex Garrod on the Robot Wars rules, interviewed by Tectonic Robot Wars[7]

During Series 2, Garrod was told off by one of the health and safety inspectors for a very minor incident. In his anger, Garrod told the inspector that much worse things could occur because of their negligence in the areas of fail-safe devices. His protests fell on deaf ears.

"...I got a rollicking from a so called health and safety man (for drilling a hole in a piece of plastic, half a mm thick with half mm drill bit ,without goggles and leather gloves), I told him that serious accidents would occur because of their lack of proper real safety precautions like checking the all important failsafe devices that MUST be fitted on ALL robotic machines AND PROPERLY TESTED BY AN EXPERT WHO UNDERSTANDS THE DEVICES AND THEIR FAILINGS. He merely walked away. That advice fell on deaf ears, only for a serious accident (hospital case) to occur almost immediately. The next year I arrived at the studio, only to find another robot had run amok, and injured another stagehand (machine fell off a trolley and the switch shorted out and an inefective failsafe didn't stop the machine)."
— Rex Garrod on behind-the-scenes incidents that caused him to retire from the show

Not long afterwards, a robot went "berserk" and a person was hospitalised as a result. Garrod expected Mentorn to have learned their lesson, and turned up for Series 3 expectantly. However, in The Pits, an unidentified spike-wielding robot was dropped and activated while being carried into the studio; the same robot later stabbed a crew member in the leg while being prepared for a battle.[8] Immediately, Garrod retired from Robot Wars in protest.

"For one accident to occur is bad, but for two of the exact same fault to occur in my book is nothing short of criminal. I have no intention of returning to Robot Wars until I'm satisfied that safety is up to the standards I am used to in my profession (Special effects for T.V Films & Advertising). After these almighty cock-ups things have taken a giant step forward, but from information received by many of the last wars contestants, it still has a long way to go. And self important people still rule, both in safety and common courtesy"
— Rex Garrod

Robots[edit | edit source]

Name Weight Class Series
Recyclopse Heavyweight Series 1
Cassius Heavyweight Series 2-3

Wins/Losses[edit | edit source]

  • Wins: 7
  • Losses: 4

Series Record[edit | edit source]

Series Team Cassius Series Record
The First Wars Grand Final with Recyclopse
The Second Wars Runner-up with Cassius
The Third Wars Heat, Round 2 with Cassius 2
The Fourth Wars Did not enter
The Fifth Wars Did not enter
The Sixth Wars Did not enter
The Seventh Wars Did not enter
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter

NOTE: Mick Cutter entered Series 1 and 2 with Robot The Bruce and Chaos, respectively.

Outside Robot Wars[edit | edit source]

Rex Garrod worked on special effects in a number of television shows, including building the eponymous car for the children's show Brum, which was a remote-controlled model.

Although he retired from the television show after Series 3, Rex Garrod continued to compete at live events, building a third version of Cassius, which had a rear-hinged flipper, as well as a featherweight, Cassius Junior. He also continued to bring the earlier versions of Cassius for static display.

Rex Garrod worked as one of the robotics experts for the magazine Ultimate Real Robots. In the magazine, he did a interview about the construction and inner workings of Cassius, and ran a regular feature called Rex's Robot Challenge, where he gave instructions on building a featherweight flipper. In issue 94, he gave instructions to build a remote controlled flying saucer.

In addition to the magazine feature, Rex Garrod also ran Rex Garrod's Robot Challenge, a competition encouraging people, particularly schools, to build featherweight robots.

Sadly, Rex Garrod passed away on the 8th April 2019, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s at the age of 75.[9][10][11]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Honours[edit | edit source]


Honour
First robot in UK to successfully self-right


References[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

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