Team Rubbish (known during the original run of the show as Team VHS-Robots) are a Belgian roboteering team who competed in both series of Dutch Robot Wars with Pika, and later competed in the British Robot Wars reboot with Cobra.

One of the most successful Belgian teams in robotic combat alongside the team behind Philipper, the team are also known for competing on the live circuit with Brutus.

The Team[edit | edit source]

Marco, Bram and Stefan repair Cobra

The team originally competed in both Dutch series of Robot Wars under the name Team VHS-Robots, competing with Pika 2 in Dutch Series 1, and Pika 3 in Dutch Series 2. For these series, Marco van Hek captained the team, and he was joined by his son Tim, and friend Joeri Ramakers. Team VHS-Robots also attempted to compete in the seventh British series of Robot Wars with Caesar. By reaching the Heat Final with Pika 2, Team VHS-Robots were the most successful Belgium team to compete in Dutch Series 1, before conceding this title to Philipper 2 in the second series.

Team Rubbish as part of Team Rest of the World

After competing in the European live circuit whilst Robot Wars was off-air, the team became known for competing with Brutus, which the team attempted to enter into the first reboot series of Robot Wars, but it was not selected to compete. This led to the team, now known as Team Rubbish, to convert Brutus into Cobra, which competed in Series 9, and Robot Wars: World Series, part of Series 10. A consistent pairing of Marco van Hek and Stefan Vanthoor were joined by Dutch roboteers Jeroen van der Loo and Jeroen van Lieverloo in Series 9, and by Marco's son Bram in Series 10.

Marco van Hek[edit | edit source]

Marco van Hek in the World Series

Marco van Hek was the captain of Team Rubbish, and the lead builder and designer of the team's machines. Marco assisted his son in driving Pika 2 and Pika 3 in the Dutch series of Robot Wars, but primarily handed off the controls to his teammates on Robot Wars and the live circuit.

Marco notably came from a non-engineering background, being a full-time fish salesman throughout his Robot Wars career, a topic which was discussed with Dara Ó Briain in the World Series. Marco was nevertheless a competent engineer, and was renown for his strong build quality.

"Wow, that's about as far removed from all of this as you can be!"
— Dara Ó Briain on Marco van Hek's occupation

Tim van Hek[edit | edit source]

Tim van Hek at the controls of Pika 3 in Dutch Series 2

Tim van Hek is Marco's son, who joined his father in competing with Pika at both series of Dutch Robot Wars. He was the driver of Pika 2 and Pika 3 in the Dutch series of Robot Wars, held up by his father as he was still too young to see over the barrier in the control booth. Tim was not present during the reboot of the UK series.

Bridget Maasland: "What are your tactics?"
Tim van Hek: "Pika!"
— Tim van Hek imitates Pikachu in Dutch Series 1

Joeri Ramakers[edit | edit source]

Team VHS-Robots with Caesar

Jeori Ramakers was a consistent member of the Pika team for both of its appearance on Dutch Robot Wars. He assisted Marco van Hek with the maintenance of Pika 2 and Pika 3, and was involved with the build process for these machines and Caesar. Joeri Ramakers usually wore sunglasses on-screen in Dutch Series 2.

Stefan Vanthoor[edit | edit source]

Stefan Vanthoor (right) with Team Rubbish in Series 10

Maintenance engineer Stefan Vanthoor became a long-time teammate of Marco van Hek whilst Robot Wars was on hiatus from television, and was present for all of Cobra's appearances in Series 9 and 10, also attempting to enter Series 8 with Brutus. He was the team's lead mechanic and was jointly responsible for converting Brutus into Cobra ahead of Series 9, also being the driver of Cobra in its brief Series 9 campaign.

Jeroen van der Loo[edit | edit source]

Main article: Team KODOX

Jeroen van der Loo (top-right) with Cobra in Series 9

Jeroen van der Loo is a Dutch roboteer, and the captain of Team KODOX, best known for Tough as Nails. Although Jeroen van der Loo applied to compete in Series 9 with Tough as Nails, his robot was not selected to compete, so he instead joined Team Rubbish to compete with Cobra. Although he could only have a limited involvement in the build process due to being based in the Netherlands, Jeroen van der Loo was listed as the team's mechanic by the Robot Wars website, making him key to any repairs that needed to take place.

Jeroen van Lieverloo[edit | edit source]

Main article: Team Tie-Rip

Jeroen van Lieverloo (left) with Team Rubbish in Series 9

Jeroen van Lieverloo is the captain of Team Tie-Rip, who temporarily joined Team Rubbish for Series 9. He created the CAD model of Cobra used in its application for Series 9, translating Marco van Hek's idea for weaponising Brutus into a digital design. Jeroen van Lieverloo was also responsible for maintaining Cobra's electronics throughout the robot's brief campaign in the series. Like Jeroen van der Loo, he was a Dutch roboteer, and as such only had a limited involvement in the build process.

"I had no intention to enter Gravity as it was still just a wedge-shaped flipper and I felt I would need to make something more original. Jeroen put Tough as Nails forward but did not have the time to make the upgrades it really needed so we were unsure if it would get selected. I also spoke to Marco van Hek and he had a plan to upgrade Brutus to a robot with an active weapon. We had a meeting and he explained his plans. I made a CAD drawing to translate his plans into an actual design and Cobra was born. We sent in the application and were selected!"
— Jeroen van Lieverloo on joining Team Rubbish[1]

Bram van Hek[edit | edit source]

Bram van Hek (left) with Cobra

Bram van Hek is another of Marco's sons, and joined the robot for the World Series filmed after Series 10. For this appearance, Bram van Hek became the driver of Cobra, taking over from Stefan Vanthoor. Under his control, Cobra collected a victory over Sabretooth, making Bram van Hek one of only two drivers on Team Rest of the World to win a fight in the World Series.

Despite not competing with Pika, Bram was the direct inspiration for these robots' names, as Pika was Bram's childhood nickname, derived from a love of the Pokémon game and anime series.

Robots[edit | edit source]

Name Weight Class Series
Pika Heavyweight Dutch Series 1-2
Cobra Heavyweight UK Series 9-10
  • NOTE: The team also attempted to enter UK Series 7 with Caesar, and Series 8 with Brutus.

Wins/Losses[edit | edit source]

  • Wins: 4
  • Losses: 5

Series Record[edit | edit source]

Dutch Series[edit | edit source]

Dutch Series Team VHS-Robots Series Record
Series 1 Heat Final with Pika 2
Series 2 Heat, Round 2 with Pika 3

UK Series[edit | edit source]

Series Team Rubbish Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Did not enter
The Fourth Wars Did not enter
The Fifth Wars Did not enter
The Sixth Wars Did not enter
The Seventh Wars Failed to qualify with Caesar
Series 8 Not selected with Brutus
Series 9 Heat, Round 1 with Cobra
Series 10 World Series with Cobra

Outside Robot Wars[edit | edit source]

Team Rubbish are regular competitors across the European live circuit, particularly in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The team competed at a limited number of events with Pika 3 and Caesar, and later Brutus. For more information on these robots, see their individual articles.

While Robot Wars entered its 12-year hiatus, Marco van Hek joined forces with Andre Boxebeld from Team Delight (best known for The Lethal Swan), to form Team A.D.H.D. for a number of events.

A few months after Series 7 was filmed, WJ Dijkstra sold Gravity 3 to Marco van Hek, who modified and rebuilt parts of the machine to create Hades, a rear-hinged flipper which the team used on the live circuit for several years, including an appearance at the 2006 UK Championship. Despite the legacy of Gravity, Hades was largely unsuccessful. It made a return to the live circuit at the Robots: Extreme Wars Live Guildford event in June 2012, but it lost all of its fights. The team also built a featherweight version of Hades known as Hades Jr., and in 2020 started building a middleweight robot of the same name.

Marco van Hek would also buy Tomahawk over the course of the Robot Wars hiatus. He rebuilt the machine in late 2012 with help from other Belgian and Dutch roboteers, leading to its rebrand as TMHWK. It competed at the Roaming Robots Winter Tour in 2012 under Marco van Hek, and the robot then changed ownership to Marien van der Meer, builder of Scraptosaur. Marco van Hek also took over Kan-Opener H-spec in 2016 after it competed at Bronebots.

Appy in 2019

After competing in Robot Wars with Cobra, the team returned to competing in live events with Brutus, also starting to build a middleweight version named Brutus Jr reusing drive motors from Pika 3. The team did, however, build a brand-new heavyweight robot called Appy, named after Stefan Vanthoor's dog. Appy was a two-wheel driven invertible robot armed with a drum spinner. This competed at Extreme Robots in Maidstone alongside Brutus in 2019, where it defeated Donald Thump in a head-to-head, but became immobile in a four-way melee against Galactus, GABOS and Nibbler. Team Rubbish revealed the CAD for a new version of Appy in January 2020.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • During the process of building Cobra, team captain Marco van Hek was set on fire, according to the Robot Wars website[2].

External Links[edit | edit source]

Honours[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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