The other day I went to Thorpe Park with the sole intention of checking out their roller coasters (you can read my previous article on the roller coasters at Alton Towers HERE).
Here is a rundown on the rides I went on and my thoughts on them.
On arriving at Thorpe Park, we were slightly disappointed to find that two of the roller coasters Nemesis: Inferno and X: No Way Out were not operating, the former for unexplained technical reasons and the latter for refurbishment. I was more annoyed by not going being able to go on Nemesis: Inferno (being a B&M inverted coaster) having experienced the delights of its predecessor Nemesis at Alton Towers.
There were still four other good roller coasters available however – and I managed to go on them at least twice each, which made up for it.
First up was Stealth, currently the fastest roller coaster (and second highest) in the UK. What it’s really famous for, however, is its insane acceleration (0-80 mph in 1.8 seconds!), which takes place right at the beginning of the ride. I’ve never felt anything like it. It goes really fast, which takes you by surprise even though you are expecting it, and then goes even faster on top of that. That's the only way I can describe it.
Following the initial burst of speed, the ride climbs the ‘top hat’ (seen in the picture below) giving you a breathtaking view of the whole park. Despite the duration of the ride only being 18 seconds long, it’s a thrilling experience every time.
Next up was Colossus, currently the joint world record holder for the most number of inversions - shared with the imaginatively named 10 Inversion Roller Coaster in Chimelong Paradise in China. This ride is great fun, with loops and corkscrews aplenty, my favourite being the quadruple heartline roll towards the end – a unique experience.
Opened in 2002, Colossus is showing its age a little however – as you do feel a little rattled about by the end of it. We even witnessed the ride get stuck on the initial incline and people having to be taken off it – not a good sign. Still, I very much enjoyed going on this world record holder - that is, until the 11 inversion coaster Journey to the Stars in Jinling Happy World in China, opens sometime later this year.
The third ride we went on was Saw – The Ride based on the popular horror film series. This ride was interesting as it only had 8 people per car (each of which moved individually around the track), it starts indoors with a drop in the dark and the general style of the ride was well integrated with the themes of the movies. The real draw for this one though, is the 100 degree vertical drop (seen in the picture below) which is made even more effective by the car being really small.
Finally, was Thorpe Park’s latest addition The Swarm, an alien apocalypse themed B&M Wing Coaster. Easily my favourite ride of the day, although not holding any records, the overall experience is awesome. With breathtaking views, a superb feeling of flying and great theming throughout (flying near a crashed plane, through a wrecked billboard, twisting over a ruined church…), all add nicely to the overall experience. My favourite part is the inverted drop right at the beginning. The ride also stands out as being incredibly smooth – you wont feel jolted about at all during it.
As well as the aforementioned billboard near-miss feature, also new to 2013 is the feature of the last two carriages of the train being turned backwards, creating a very different experience. Although it’s not for everyone I personally enjoyed going backwards - you feel the speed of the ride without any of the wind blasting in your face. And, of course, you can’t see which way you are going…
However, nothing can beat being at the very front of this ride – well worth spending the extra time queuing up for. Along with Alton Tower’s Air, The Swarm is definitely one of my favourite roller coasters that I have been on. If you are a fan of roller coasters then this one is highly recommended.
Check out the Roller Coaster Data Base for current record holders and other info. Also you can watch POV footage of each ride by clicking on its title in this article. Enjoy!
19th April 2013