Trace Du Hourra (Parc Asterix)
has it, in the days when cave-dwelling mankind became excited by the most
trivial of things, upon the accidental discovery that man could walk, they
became overwhelmed with euphoria and ran down roads screaming hurrah, in a
mindless spree of jubilation.
makes a refreshing change for you and me to be able to introduce a so-called
bobsleigh by not having to blether on about quaint Alpine villages, covered in
snow with a bobsleigh run carving its’ way through the rocky peaks.
the Mack bobsleigh is original enough, the boat has really been pushed out to
make sure that Trace Du Hourra (Trail of Hurrah) is not a poor alternative to
the criminally superb Tonnerre De Zeus, yet offering a completely incomparable
experience in similarity.
the bobsleigh isn’t Mack’s biggest seller, theming seems to be a knee-jerk
reaction by painting the track white and giving the station wooden trim. A few
exceptions exist, but by theming this attraction on that celebrated day of
merriment when it was realised that man could walk, Parc Asterix really pushed
the boat out.
themes are Parc Asterixs’ speciality. Trace Du Hourra is only a stones throw
from the superb Menhir Express and the stippled Oxygenarium and from the outset
curved underside of the dusty-brown track, trimmed in red, coils in and out of
view, through trees, rock formations and over pools of water. The entrance is
formed from a precariously stacked archway of rocks before the path leads you
into the epicentre of the ride.
you weave through the centre of the dramatically sweeping turns of the ride, you
pass cascading waterfalls and rock-formed archways as every minute-or-so a train
will majestically orbit dizzily around you before turning out of view.
you look closer, the story of mankind’s first steps are told through drawings
etched into the rock. Comical men leap for joy as they raise to their feet,
something which may go over the heads of those unaware of the theming
intricacies, but enough to give at least a general idea of the ride.
large rock creation forms the station with carefully shaped pillars above
holding the dramatic roof above riders. The queue goes into a darkened tunnel
beneath the station, once again festively decorated in drawings. The queue goes
outside once again, past the lift hill, subtly spiralling up to the station
most of the rides at Parc Asterix, where you sit is up to you. Not being an
airtime ride, it makes little difference, although it goes without saying the
views are in the front, the speed in the back.
train is deep amber with jovial décor in a contrasting shade of pink, green or
blue. The fresco-artwork is a joy, and although from a distance the trains might
look like a string of sweet corn, from a respectable distance they look
train is split into two-seater cars. Riders sit one behind each other, with a
lap bar that hinges into place, held by hydraulics meaning it will fit snugly
and stay there.
is exceptionally swift, and once bars are checked, the train is tyre driven on
coaster-like track around an initial turn into the lift hill.
lift appears to be enormous, and as you rise, a great view of not only the ride,
but of the park. Mechanically, the lift is fast and unnervingly silent. As you
approach the top, the train levels out into a large plateau as the back finishes
the ascent and the front begins its descent.
grace, it sharply accelerates into a sweeping right-hand spiral, turning under
the top of the lift with surprising speed. Without pausing, the train abruptly
shifts to the left, and into another helix turning dramatically to the right and
back under the lift.
for a moment the track straightens, the train is funnelled in using tracks at
the side, bringing it into an upward stance. The train doesn’t even slow and
having been deprived of a few collected breaths of air, you smoothly accelerate
into a sweeping left-hand turn.
pace once again quickens as this double helix gets tighter and tighter. As you
hurtle down this vortex, you dip down towards the ground, almost skimming water
below, and as you do, the ride camera captures your excited face as once again,
you climb subtlety into another set of mid-course brakes.
you drop down into a slaloming figure eight through a rocky formation, arching
dramatically above your head. A unexpectedly sharp tight turn at the far end
sends you back towards these rocks before turning to the left and into a
slithering turn, sending you bouncing back into the final brake-run, slowing
smoothly, not stopping, before advancing around the final turn, past the
maintenance shed hidden from view by a screen of bamboo, before entering the
station and leaving on your right.
Du Hourra completely and utterly trounces any form of competition, and entirely
embarrasses the pitiful Intamin version of the ride. The queue is just fabulous,
with lucid and novel theming it is a pleasure to stand in, and with great
visuals of a notoriously un-photogenic ride, it entertains too.
the queue is a surprising delight, it is the ride that excels. From the top of
the lift to the final brakes it is completely unyielding. Although running three
trains is normal (it can run an amazing six), not one of the mid-course brake
runs interrupts your hasty binge around the circuit.
intimidating younger family members, the ride smoothly yet forcefully throws you
into each turn with incredible grace, something achieved as the train takes its
natural path thanks to the lack of rigid track.
the lift, the course is varied with a great selection of varied elements, such
as the swooping turn into the first helix, the mid-course spiral and the finale,
a knotted figure-eight.
not alone in saying that Trace Du Hourra is the perfect family ride in
every way. With an un-exhausted concept of a ride it is more than the
theming that makes it stand head and shoulders above the rest.
the trains, visuals are great, and as the train swiftly chops and changes
through the varying turns, it is great watching it snake around as it does.
With surprising speed, and equal grace, riding it is a joy.
5/5 Marcus Sheen