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The Swarm At Thorpe Park

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I'll not bore you all with the long story. Short version is: I'm a lapsed coaster enthusiast with an old mate I recently rekindled my friendship with. We went to Thorpe Park today; things went wrong immediately when our mutual friend, who is about 17 stone, couldn't get the lap belt on Colossus fastened over his gut, and was banished from the ride, at which point he took umbrage and caught the train home. He would have been fine on Saw, except that first time round it frightened the hell out of me, and was so bumpy it gave me a splitting headache- so he'd likely have taken umbrage anyway :ph34r: .

Anyway, we finally made it into the queue for The Swarm. It was bloody annoying that we had to queue 30 minutes because they were only running one train when it's obviously designed to run two. But we waited the extra 4 minutes to get on the front and....what a ride it is. I'll not comment on the 'scenario' but the setup is good as as any ride I've ever been on, if you like that sort of thing...

Once you're finally on it you have a lovely smooth ride up to the top of the drag- at which point it flips you over so that you can eyeball the 30m drop you're about to undergo so very smoothly..,

And from then it's just as excellent- fast, three inversions, all butter smooth, wanging you past obstacles fast enough to make you duck, all the while if you're like me putting you in mind of being a stunt pilot. Classic B&M. IMO it's a long way clear as the second best coaster in the British Isles (1st being Nemesis at Alton Towers, which remains a landmark in coaster design (also B&M...).

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Nemesis - the acceleration just after it does its short initial circuit over the grassy bit and then drops to the main course is phenomenal.

When I was younger I could just go around for another go straight away, but the last time I went on it I had to sit down for five minutes afterwards on that "rock" just near the exit.

Used to love The Looping Star at Margate - very short ride, and maybe it's just that things seem bigger than they really were when you try to recall them, but the climb seemed near-vertical and that initial drop was very fast. Though now I look at it..

I worry about some of the rides as I'm so short I think I'm going to fall out of the harness, that not being part of the intended terror.


Edit to add:

Since 2001, Millennium Force has been voted the number one steel roller coaster in the world eight times in Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Awards, and has never been ranked lower than number two since it opened in 2000


Link: Millenium Force

Not sure I could go on that now.

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The pit and the pendulum display at southend pier, mid-80s. The definition of horror.

I think that was there in the 60s too....we went to Neverland on the other side of the pier and up the grassy bank and were enthralled. remnants of it remain to this day.

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....once went on a galleon ride and was promptly sick in mid swing to cover some poor innocent rider down below, they didn't know what hit them. :o;)

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A family member works for the owners of TP, so we get to go on a family day early in the season (no queues). I went on Stealth 6 times because I could not believe the sheer grunt of it (I've ridden superbikes but it's off that scale).

Yeah, you'd need a pro-stock bike with a wheely-bar and nitrous to achieve 0-80 in 2.3s. Not an experience available to anyone other than a serious drag racer, but it can be done.

I did insist that my mate have at least one ride on Stealth- he insisted that he'd had better at the various american theme parks he'd been to. I rode it twice the last time I went to TP, 8 years ago. I enjoyed it this time- the initial launch second was not that exciting, but the acceleration seems to intensify the faster you get- it was the last 0.5 seconds of the 2.3 that really caused me to w00t! with pleasure! :lol:

Swarm is good but both Stealth and Saw are better IMO. The acceleration on Stealth is unbelievable and the vertical drop is breathtaking.

...but having said that, I reckon Stealth is a waste of a lot of kinetic energy. You fly up a not particularly tall tower, fall down the other side not that interestingly.......and that's it, you hit the brakes at the top of a pretty lame flyover. It's all over in 15 seconds. Pretty disappointing really.


Cheers for the vid. They've improved it since it was shot- now after you've whanged under the aeroplane wing and done the zero-g flipover, you shoot down through a hole in a massive advertising hoarding, and then shoot back across a cut-out corner of it (after the 4.5G turn) which makes you duck twice, prior to the flip over the waiting area. It also looks awesome when you're queueing! And every other ride they shoot a massive jet of flame out of the top of a beached fire engine as you're flying over it, which is also sweet as :D .

Also that particular run looked slow, maybe due to the weather; on all three of my rides we were still going like the clappers rounding the final turn and had to hit the brakes hard on the run-in.

I guess we all have different tastes, and there's no right or wrong rollercoaster design- but as far as I'm concerned The Swarm is a beauty, and I'd wholeheartedly recommend it! :)

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