Coaster Kingdom


What a difference a year makes.

It 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 Magnum Force.

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.

OK, true, not that different. But bear with me.

Think 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.

2 Intamin Accelerators last year. 2 Intamin Accelerators this year. Same rides, different year?

Not 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

What 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 see.

Of 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.

But 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

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.

Black Mamba 'Junior Immelman'

Black Mamba Layout 

Black Mamba's 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 inverts.

Despite the 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.

Many – 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.

Both 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.

The biggest difference between the two is that Nemesis is twelve years old, while Black Mamba hasn’t even opened yet.

Nowadays, this makes a world of difference. As Nemesis Inferno, Dæmonen 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 Nemesis.

Should 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.

Building site
Building site
While the layout is now complete, there is still much to be done.

The 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.

As 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 drop.

While 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.

While 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.

While 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.

Considering 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 Coasters Rockets
Speed Monster, Stealth

Speed Monster artist's impression

Speed Monster at Tusenfryd, complete with Pretzel Loop wrapping around the entrance escalator. Image: Tusenfryd

Another year, another pair of so-called ‘Rocket Coasters’.

But the idea of Intamin’s Accelerator coaster is far from being beaten from death, at least when Tusenfryd’s Speed Monster is concerned.

Speed Monster
Computer model
The opening pretzel loop on Speed Monster in real life and as a computer model. Images: Tusenfryd

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.

Following 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 opening.


It took the most powerful computer in the world to draw this layout.

Stealth Facts
Manufacturer Intamin AG
Height 205ft
Top Speed 79mph
Launch Speed 79mph in 2.5sec
Track Length 1312ft
Trains/Cars 3/5
Elements Launch, Top Hat, Bunny Hop
Opens 15 March 2006

Thorpe 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.

Much-lauded 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.

Yes, dust off the gallows – I am about to commit treason:

Stealth. Doesn’t. Look. That. Good.

There, I’ve said it. Lock me up, I’m a madman.

While 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?

For 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 coaster.

But that’s not a problem, right? There are plenty of other things to get excited about on Stealth. Right?

Well, no.

And 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.

Before 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....

Coaster Kingdom Magazine
Issue 15: Feb 2006

Issue 15
2006 Season Preview
Our annual look forward to the next season's new rides

Full 2006 European New Rides Listing
Probably the most comprehensive list of new rides for next year available online

In The Picture
In The Picture
Click to enlarge image