Thorpe Park

Hellen's car is finally going to be completely refurbished and repainted by Dave from Quad Conversions and so this weekend we are on our way to Leeds. A perfect opportunity to snag some parks on the route.

First up is Thorpe Park near London. The last time we were here was with the Themepark UK Tour in October 2005 and in the meantime a number of interesting attractions have been added.

It is pretty busy in the park, because of Halloween. In the first queue where we line up there is a significant amount people, many of whom dressed up. A great atmosphere but it takes almost an hour before we are through the entire row and we can enter Saw - The Ride (#828). Saw is a Gerstlauer rollercoaster type Eurofighter, the seventh since the appearance of Vild-Svinet (BonBon-Land) in 2003.

Eurofighter roller coasters, like Typhoon in Bobbejaanland and Falcon in Duinrell are characterized by a vertical lift hill where riders lie on their backs in the small trains (two rows of four people). Once at the top the train tumbles over the edge and starts the descent at an angle of more than 90 degrees downward. In the case of Saw, this is followed by a pair of smooth and very large inversions. Not all Eurofighters are equally jolt-free but this is fortunately a positive exception.

A bit further we come across Nemesis Inferno. This B&M was only two years old in 2005 but celebrated her 10th birthday this year. Fortunately, there's nothing that indicated the amount of years past during the ride. Nemesis is still running as smoothly her laps as it did eight years ago. And still a snappy coaster with G-forces of up to 4.5 G.

During the ThemePark trip we could already behold the finished, but not yet opened, Stealth (#829). Now we finally have the opportunity to give this ride a try. Stealth is a smaller version of Top Thrill Dragster in Cedar Point and Kingda Ka in Six Flags Great Adventure. The principle is very simple: the train is launched from the station in 2.3 seconds up to 128 km/h and then shoots straight up to 62 meters height in order to immediately whiz straight down again and then halt in front of the station. It doesn't take much more than a dozen seconds but the acceleration is overwhelming. Too bad that also for this attraction the waiting time is the better part of an hour.

The latest addition to Thorpe, in terms of rollercoasters, is called Swarm (#830). The world's second wing coaster by B&M is not only a truly spectacular ride but is also heavily themed. The area suggests a crash site of an alien space ship and the havoc is quite considerable. Swarm swoops in between the heavily battered buildings, flies through a billboard and along a plane wreck in flames. Very impressive and a very intense ride. In a word, amazing.

For those who have never heard of a wing coaster: this comprises a roller coaster train which is not located on or below the track but where the seats are positioned alongside the track. This creates the feeling of floating freely through the air.

After the first ride, I am going to try once again to experience what the ride is like in front seat. In front the effect of free movement is many times stronger still. What a winner!

After a ride on Flying Fish, the electric roller coaster, it's time to get back to the car and drive a bit further towards Leeds. Tomorrow we visit Drayton Manor and that's been 9 years ago too.

The entrance to Thorpe Park hasn't changed much since 2004.

Some strange theming for the queue of Saw - The Ride.

Going straight up on the lifthill.

This dive loop is a very pleasant element on this Eurofighter.

Nemesis Inferno still runs as smooth as it did on previous visits.

Stealth is a very no-nonsense coaster that delivers a punchy acceleration of 0 - 80 mph in just 2,3 seconds.

The queue moves considerably slower than that though.

About half the height of that of Top Thrill Dragster but certainly not boring at all.

Flying Fish moved to another location within the park. I just couldn't resist to ride it once more.

Theming at the entrance of the queueline. A piece of wreckage from an airliner, still smoking.

Reports from the disaster area live on television.

Lifthill surrounded by destroyed buildings.

First drop.

As far as I'm concerned this is one very well executed project.