Coaster Kingdom


It has always been interesting – even if a bit soul destroying – to compare the contrasts between British fairs and continental fairs.

When it comes to fairs, Germany in particular has always projected this sense of big is better, while our green and pleasant land has always maintained it isn’t how big it is, it’s how you use it.


Our answer to Eurostar is a 65ft tall Pinfari coaster

While showmen like Oscar Bruch debuted the awesome Eurostar, a ride that in its smallest form for the first year packed onto 100 articulated lorries, we toured several Chance Toboggan coasters which toured on two lorries each, offering a ride not dissimilar to sitting inside an upright piano as it gets sucked into a tornado.

And while we toured Miamis, the Germans toured the awesome 64-seater Imperiator, possibly the largest-ever touring spin ride to grace this god-given earth.

While the German punters turned green as they were thrown in directions they never knew existed, bleary-eyed Brits turned green with envy. Rides like the Schwarzkopf giant coasters hardly existed in our parks, let alone fairs, and Nauta Bussink Pirate Ships the size of the QE2 offered something of a pilgrimage to hard-done-by Brits.

While Pirate Ships of varying sizes had been touring Germany for decades, in 1994, Robrhan presented the first Huss Frisbee, a ride that soon cemented itself as an important block in the wall for German fairs.

For years, Huss were the prestige spin ride manufacturer; the choice of the discerning showman. With rides tailored to travel, well built and long lasting, the German manufacturer was the first choice when it came to travelling spin rides.

Another month, another picture of a Breakdance

Huss - expensive, and well built, machines that British showmen have historically avoided  

Perhaps one of Huss’ most popular rides was the Breakdance – there are nearly fifty Breakdances in Germany alone. The weapon of choice in Germany is the most expensive – the 48-seater Breakdance 2.

The Breakdance has been touring for twenty years now, and is Germany’s answer for the Waltzer. If you can’t find a Breakdance at a German fair, the chances are you’re not looking hard enough. Either that or the ride is hidden in a cloud of dry ice.

German fairs are often built around an iconic coaster, too. While Eurostar is probably the best known currently touring, it has the reputation of the infamous Bruch coaster, Thriller, to live up to.

Thriller is a good example that large-scale touring coasters have never been a passing whim. Indeed, even in 2005, the Brits; the same country who bought you the automobile, telephone and television, have not even come close to building a coaster that was touring nearly 20 years ago.

This is a complete sham, surely? We can move a lighthouse from the edge of a collapsing cliff, but we don’t have the balls to buy a 100ft touring roller coaster? Well, no – it isn’t quite as simple as that.

One problem is down to the size of British plot sizes. They’re smaller than in Germany, and really work against showmen against building bigger and better. Continues...

Coaster Kingdom Magazine
Issue 12: Nov 2005

Issue 12
Getting our Fair Share
Is the gap between German and British fairs closing?