a difference a year makes.
seems like only yesterday where in our 2005 season forecast we were
previewing two new ‘rocket coasters’, a Gerstauler Eurofighter, and
the loss of Flamingo Land’s two Schwarzkopf coasters, Bullet and
here we are today, previewing two new ‘rocket coasters’, a
Gerstauler Eurofighter, and the loss of Flamingo Land’s two
Schwarzkopf coasters, Bullet and Magnum Force.
true, not that different. But bear with me.
of the Gerstauler Eurofighter as last year’s leftovers. For whatever
reason, whether tactical, financial or logistical, the dinky
beyond-vertical coaster was pushed back to this year. Reassuringly, and
unlike last year, Oakwood’s
website teases us with computer generated images and video of
the coaster, rumoured to be called Speed.
Intamin Accelerators last year. 2 Intamin Accelerators this year.
Same rides, different year?
the case with the so-called Intamin ‘rocket coasters’, though. Last
year we previewed Alton Towers’ Rita – Queen of Speed and Liseberg’s unexpectedly
fiery Kanonen, while this year we preview yet two more –
Tusenfryd’s Speed Monster and Thorpe Park’s Stealth.
Flamingo Land’s Bullet and Magnum Force were both granted a one-year
reprieve, so against expectation we were able to enjoy them throughout
the last year. No such chance in 2006, though, as both rides have
already been completely dismantled while the new king of the park,
Kumali, is built.
will happen with Bullet and Magnum Force is anybody’s guess. There
were repeated rumours that Magnum Force was going to return to the
German fair circuit, which is a nice thought to see a ride that was
always a duck out of water return to its native homeland, but we’ll
course, it would have been nice to just call up 2005’s preview, do a
find and replace for 2005 and replace with 2006, save and pass it off as
a new season preview.
we’ve been thwarted! Unlike last season, 2006 sees a ridiculous number
of water coasters open, several spinning coasters, a full-sized GCI
wooden twister as well as the magnificent looking B&M inverted coaster, Black Mamba.
Black Mamba has been coiled up, ready to pounce for much of the 2005
season. Come 2006, the knotted mess of serpentine curves will spring
into life, devouring all who dare approach it.
layout until recently was a complete mystery.
The final list of
elements includes: Semi-enclosed lift hill, swooping first drop,
vertical loop, inline twist, two barrel rolls and what RCDB
calls a Junior Immelman, pictured, due to the fact it is a small
version of the immelman, though unlike the original it never fully
layout now being known, nobody yet knows the exact statistics for
how tall, fast or long Black Mamba is.
Black Mamba is something of a departure for Phantasialand. Home to Colorado
Adventure and Winjas
Fear and Force, the park has had an unquestionable bias towards
the family group. Black Mamba will
be the first looping coaster for the park, the oldest in Germany, and
even at this early stage the ride has started drawing comparisons
against Nemesis at Alton Towers.
– myself included – would argue that Nemesis has already met its
maker against Movie World Madrid’s caped crusader, Batman
La Fuga, but it is easy to see that Black
Mamba and Nemesis have more than just a passing similarity.
coasters have fairly under whelming statistics; Nemesis has a change in
elevation of 120ft, Black
Mamba’s isn’t much different. Nemesis has four inversions,
versus Black Mamba’s five.
And both are predominantly ground-hugging, both making use of tunnels
and trenches below ground level.
biggest difference between the two is that Nemesis is twelve years old,
while Black Mamba hasn’t even opened yet.
this makes a world of difference. As Nemesis
and arguably Superman
have proven, Bolliger and Mabillard’s insistence that rides should be
comfortable apparently overrides the need for them to be forceful in any
way. Although Black Mamba
appears to have a tight, compact and even aggressive layout, it remains
to be seen whether or not it will dethrone the mighty Batman – or even
Black Mamba be nothing more than a suspended monorail with knobs on,
if I were a betting man, I would say this will be the best themed
B&M coaster the world has yet to see.
artists’ impressions paint a colourful picture of a lush landscape
with dense foliage, temples and the coaster slaloming around a rich
African backdrop. Of course, allowances were made for artistic
interpretation, but already the gloves are off and this mighty serpent
is already punching its weight against Duelling Dragons and Katun.
the coaster rises, so too do the magnificent buildings that surround the
track. Most of the 100ft lift-hill is enclosed within a towering
yet-unidentified building, with the train anticipated to pass through a
restaurant as it climbs, re-emerging as it swoops into the steep first
much of the coaster burrows deep underground, intricate rockwork will
guide the coaster on its way, with African animals such as snakes and
lions carved into the rocky landscape.
it is hard not to get excited by the theming on Black Mamba, it
is also just as hard to picture the ride being anywhere near complete by
Phantasialand’s opening date of April the 1st.
artists impressions show a tropical labyrinth of pathways and bridges,
the very latest photos paint a gloomy picture of a building site with a
coaster that was only structurally completed towards the end of January
and has yet to test.
the ride’s interaction with the surrounding area, it is hard to
imagine themers being able to get their teeth into transforming the
deepest muddy trenches into deepest Africa while a ride is expected to
complete several hundred test circuits.
Number of Accelerator
Monster at Tusenfryd, complete with Pretzel Loop
wrapping around the entrance escalator. Image: Tusenfryd
year, another pair of so-called ‘Rocket Coasters’.
the idea of Intamin’s Accelerator coaster is far from being beaten
from death, at least when Tusenfryd’s Speed
Monster is concerned.
opening pretzel loop on Speed Monster in
real life and as a computer model. Images:
Speed Monster uses Tusenfryd’s unique rocky terrain, and omits the
almost token top hat in favour of a pretzel loop, a combination of dive
loop and immelman that cavorts its way around the pair of escalators
that form the park entrance.
this, the F1-themed 3-car trains navigate a turn around, corkscrew, Expedition Ge-Force style turn and bunny hop.
Speed Monster is far from the smallest Accelerator coaster at 131ft
(Liseberg’s Kanonen is 78ft), but
is also 325ft away from being the highest.
The coaster has the potential to be an absolute riot, but I would be
surprised if Speed Monster
has what it takes to become vintage stuff. Kanonen is probably the
easiest coaster to compare it to – both have a handful of inversions,
both are modestly proportioned, yet Speed Monster opts for a
long, drawn-out layout while Kanonen is more of a spaghetti-bowl.
The launch into the pretzel
loop threading its way around the escalator adds another qualification
to the Accelerator’s curriculum vitae, and if there is to be a
standout moment on this ride, then this will be it.
What follows is more of a
lottery. The pessimist in me says it is like Rita – Queen of Speed
with a corkscrew, while the optimist notes the
airtime hill over the escalator, the Expedition Ge-Force style turn and sharp turnaround. The potential’s
there, but I fear the second half will fall short of the textbook
took the most powerful computer in the world to draw this layout.
Top Hat, Bunny Hop
Park, meanwhile, put the finishing touches to the bizarrely-named Stealth, a ride that is anything but covert, topping off just shy of
the Big One’s
UK-record breaking 235-feet.
and much-anticipated, Stealth is a simplified version of Kingda
Ka... and Xcellerator... and, well, a simplified version of just about
any other Intamin Accelerator to date.
dust off the gallows – I am about to commit treason:
Doesn’t. Look. That. Good.
I’ve said it. Lock me up, I’m a madman.
you buckle up my straightjacket, please allow me to explain. Icons, by
their very nature, are supposed to be an important and enduring symbol.
Is it therefore mad to suggest – or even expect a layout with
more bells and whistles than the four year-old prototype in America?
such an important coaster, Stealth is lazy by design. On a global scale,
it is unremarkable. And come next year, even in Europe is unremarkable.
Thorpe’s icon coaster – already overshadowed by the Big One and
Silver Star in terms of height, will surrender its only noteworthy claim
of being the fastest coaster in Europe to PortAventura’s new launched
that’s not a problem, right? There are plenty of other things to get
excited about on Stealth. Right?
that’s the problem. Stealth stinks of Thorpe Park getting away
with doing the bare minimum to grab themselves a slice of the Intamin
Accelerator pie. To be honest, there isn’t enough to go around as it
is, especially while Tusenfryd and Liseberg make an effort to make sure
theirs don’t sink without trace, while Stealth relies 100% on
being marketable, while they can only play the fastest coaster in Europe
card for another year.
SouthParks members have me hung, drawn and quartered, Stealth isn't
going to be a bad ride - I've ridden Xcelerator, so should know - which,
to be honest, for an icon ride, is part of the problem. Continues....