Thorpe Park: For
convenience in any press release it is being referred to as a 10
looper, however they are not all loops, the inversions are as follows,
a vertical loop, a cobra roll making two inversions, a pair of barrel
rolls, 4 inline twists in a row and finally a final inline twist in
the opposite direction into the brakes. The ride needed a unique
selling point, we know entertainment isn't always about braking
records, but we needed to put out a clear message that Thorpe Park was
changing. There was a height problem, we could only go 30 metres above
the ground, which is nothing in the world of roller coasters. We knew
that Intamin could do 8 inversions with a 30 metre lift hill, with the
ride in Rio, which is a very efficient ride. We thought there may have
been the opportunity to add two more energy efficient inversions.,
after some double thinking we decided to approach Intamin and ask if
they could put 2 more inversions in the ride. The ride is partly
underground, with a tunnel before and after the cobra roll, this
obviously was very expensive, mainly because Thorpe is on a gravel
pit. It will have magnetic induction brakes, which when you ride them
you will find are fabulous.
Why did you
decide to build sw5 next to Nemesis?
It is hard to
get planning permission for roller coasters, in the case of sw5 the
question was where could we place another coaster with a high point?
Where planning consent would be granted. Next to Nemesis is not the
most logical place, we would have liked to place sw5 behind Corkscrew,
there is a great site behind the Corkscrew, but we would never have
got planning permission. We don't expect enthusiasts to understand
what problems we face, but we are not short of ideas and we're not
short of money, we are just short planning consent. The sw5 lift hill
is slightly higher than Nemesis because there are a few higher trees
on that side of Forbidden Valley :D.
What happened to
the non looping coaster which was to be built behind Corkscrew in the
This ride was a
twin track racer, where you would leave the station and race the train
that left before you and then do the track and go up a parallel lift
hill and race the train after you. The idea was flawed because it
assumed you could dispatch trains without any delays, however this is
not always the case. When we bought Alton Towers the project was ready
to go ahead and we had to choose whether to press the button or not.
Thankfully we decided not to build it, it would have been an
Is there a main
reason why a woodie hasn't been built at Alton Towers?
As the years go
on we are more and more likely to do it. It is only the last few years
when woodies have got street cred in the UK and that is thanks to
Megaphobia. I'm as big a coaster enthusiast as everyone else and I've
always loved woodies. I would love to build a Woodie at Alton Towers,
but it is hard to get planning consent for such a loud ride and as
soon as you try to silence a woodie with polyurethane wheels it makes
it a pretty dull ride. I would like to think that in the next few
years a woodie will be built at Alton, the Stampedia at Port Aventura
was originally designed for where Nemesis is now.
What has been
your greatest challenge?
SW5 will have
been my greatest challenge, to actually make people feel as if they
are flying has been difficult. Nemesis was also a challenge, Oblivion
however was dead easy, we just dug a massive hole and put a great big
drop in. We have designed coasters for every inch of every park! We
spent hours trying to design a B&M inverted coaster for Chessington
with the biggest hole you've ever seen on a coaster, we've had some
major challenges which most people don't know about because they were
never actually built.
What is your
favourite non Tussuads/ universal coaster?
My first ride on
the revolution at Magic Mountain in the 1970's was one I'll never
forget, but nowadays I love the Blackpool woodies.
Do you see any
major changes in roller coaster technology in the next 5 years?
hydraulic and pneumatic launching, new seating mechanisms are all
likely to appear in the next few years. The technology I am keeping a
close eye on is the pre-laminated beam technology on woodies.
Why did you put
those RCT files on your web site?
To give various
people in our organisation a rough simulation of what we were
planning. We plan coasters for all over our parks, we have woodies
designed for Alton and Thorpe and many others which will never appear.
The files were supposed to be just for people in our organisation, but
when the world decided to sneak in on the files we decided to make
them public because they were never going to be built anyway.
Any chance of a
Spiderman type ride at Alton Towers?
This is an
amazing ride, the best simulator I've been on. It was however very
expensive ($64million) and has high running costs which even Universal
would find difficult. There is a company trying to make a cheaper
version of this ride, but when they presented it to us it did not look