- "IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED, YOU ARE ABOUT AVERAGE."
- — Rex Garrod's motto
- "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
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.
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.
- "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
- "This one of the great characters of Robot Wars"
- — Jonathan Pearce describes Rex Garrod during Cassius' Series 2 Semi Final Gauntlet run
Rex Garrod was a former children's television presenter and engineer, with an extensive career in special effects. He drove Recyclopse and the original Cassius, as well as operating their pneumatically-powered, front-hinged flipper weapons.
He was well known for his cheerful and sporting demeanour, always on hand to help other roboteers modify and repair their robots whenever problems arose. This collaborative spirit extended to a 'pacifist' approach to combat, in which Garrod avoided attacking his opponents once they had become immobilised. Instead, he preferred to take on and occasionally vanquish the House Robots, sparing defeated opponents of any further damage.
- 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 their robot. For all the rice in China, I couldn't do that! That's against the principles of 3p. I want to encourage kids to build them. I might destroy them, so... if I could immobilise them without doing them any harm, yes, but I certainly wouldn't go out to destroy them, no way. Now, a House Robot, that's different..."
- — Rex Garrod explains his 'pacifist' views in Series 2, Heat H
A keen innovator, Garrod is credited for the creation of the flipper weapon on Robot Wars and for successfully pioneering the self-righting mechanism (srimech) in UK robot combat, which was famously demonstrated by Cassius in Series 2. Garrod placed greater emphasis on putting on an entertaining fight than achieving outright victory, while often praising other entries for their individual performances such as Loco and Panic Attack.
- "Anyone who produce[s] a robot that is able to compete, has achieved a great deal, in my opinion. Anyone who has built a robot that is effective and reliable, has my greatest admiration. To build a robot that wins is one hell of an achievment [sic]. To get to this stage it is a favorite with me."
- — Rex Garrod, Tectonic Robot Wars interview
On three occasions where Cassius' incarnations ended up in the pit, he joked about his own driving skills when discussing his machines' losses with Craig Charles. A recurring exchange between the two concerned Charles placing bets on Cassius winning the main UK Championship, with Garrod responding in a quickfire and outwardly jovial fashion.
- Craig Charles: "You were probably my favourite robot to win this - I had my money on you guys!"
- Rex Garrod: "Well, you lost again!"
- Craig Charles: "Well, you've got loads of tricks that the robot can do that we never got to see... Cassius was responsible for one of the finest, finest moments on Robot Wars 2. We were expecting fireworks from you this time round, but they never happened!"
- Rex Garrod: "Well, we got the fireworks out of the pit!"
- — Interview following Cassius 2's elimination in Series 3, Heat M
Nevertheless, Garrod enjoyed major success in his earlier Robot Wars appearances, reaching the Grand Final in the first two UK Series.
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.
Only part of the team for Series 2, he did not have a speaking role.
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
Taking over the role of driver, Mick Cutter shared Garrod'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.
- 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.
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
During Series 2, Garrod was reprimanded by one of the production crew's 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 other areas, such as the implementation and inspection of failsafe 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 ineffective 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. 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
- Wins: 7
- Losses: 4
|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|
Outside Robot Wars
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.
- Team Cassius' second robot, Cassius, was inducted into The Combat Robot Hall of Fame in 2007, in honour of it being the first UK robot to self-right.
|First robot in UK to successfully self-right|
- Interview with Rex Garrod, Tectonic Robot Wars (Archived)
- Team Cassius Website - Robot the Bruce (Archived)
- Team Cassius Website - Chaos 2 meets Cassius (Archived)
- Chaos 2 website - FAQs (Archived)
- Chaos 2 website - The Chaos Team (Archived)
- Robot Wars : The First Great War on YouTube
- Robot Wars Discussion Board, RW99, Organisation in the pits this year (Archived)
- We Love Rex Garrod Facebook group
- Ipswich Star - Robot Wars legend Rex Garrod dies at 75 after long illness with Alzheimer’s
- BBC News - Suffolk inventor and creator of Brum Rex Garrod dies
- The Combat Robot Hall of Fame ®, Team Run Amok website