Posts: 698Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:02 pm
Custom Title: My body isn't a temple, it's an amusement park.
Yes, there's another coaster at Kentucky Kingdom, and I'm not talking about the Roller Skater...
Lightning Run is the first full-sized coaster from Chance and they really needed a breakout hit to give them a foothold in the business. They're mostly known for portable carnival rides, train rides, and Ferris wheels. This ride could begin a new division for them, or end it abruptly.
It certainly looks good from the queue!
Getting up to the station, though, I see bizarre-looking restraints.
They don't look comfortable at all...
There are C-shaped shin guards, a seat belt, and the ops have to push the bar WAAAAAY down to get an OK from the control panel. It was difficult to breathe in the station. This need to staple left more than a few people doing the walk of shame after finding out they can't ride. There's no test seat down front, either, and the queue was well over 2hrs. I felt sorry for them. I should also mention that because of this, dispatch times were horrifically slow. Like 4-10min between each train. Hopefully, some tweaks and some experience on the part of the crew will help with that, but on this sneak preview day, it was pretty painful to watch.
Viewed from the front, the restraints don't look too bad except for that grab bar(?) in front. I have no idea what it was for. It didn't touch anything, it wasn't solid enough to provide a grab bar to hold onto, and the left side bracket allowed the thing to wobble... but only the left side. I have no idea. No matter, I was planning to have hands up anyway.
Once we got stapled in, one of the guys from Chance came over. The media was swarming the station as this was the first trainload of ACErs and the Chance guy said, "we want to interview you when you get off" (referring to John Gerard and myself, both in the back row) because you're in the sweet seats. I said that I only chose the back because the line for the front was so long due to expected airtime... and he said, "NO, you want the back. Really." Hey, dude designed it, I suppose he knows his stuff. Excitement builds even more now.
Up the hill and the front cars begin to pull us over. I'm wishing the lap bar wasn't crushing me so tightly. Picking up speed, over the top... holy mother of God, OMG OMG OMG that is INSANE. I'm suddenly not even aware of the stapling. That drop, while not very tall, is WICKED in the back seat. I look at the approaching curve at the bottom and think, "here's the big test of their track layout..." and it's just beautiful. It's banked such that there are some laterals, but not uncomfortably so. It's perfect. Up and to the left into the first camel back hill.
Somebody at Chance has ridden El Toro. Airtime in every seat, but the back is especially good because you get it all the way over AND down the other side with a really nice yank. Well, it WOULD be airtime if you weren't stapled in so tightly, but I'm absolutely serious when I say that I didn't mind it at all. The Gs are so strong that you still FEEL like you're airborne and in fact, you become well aware that if those lap bars ever fail, it's unlikely that seat belt is going to do you much good. Cut you in half maybe, but probably not hold you in the car!
An over banked turn follows, but it's not like the Intamin or B&M turns you're used to. This one is wicked fast, over and done before you even saw it coming. That's the thing about this ride... everything just comes at you so quickly, you have no time at all to recover between elements.
Coming out of the left-hand over bank, there's a right-hand banked turn and another airtime-filled hill right into a left-hand banked 3/4 turn will humps and a beautiful head chopper drop under the previous airtime hill. A right-hand 180 threads the over banked turn and into a small hill with a tad of reverse banking at the top. It's weird, almost like Chance said, "yeah, we can do that too, but chose not to take it all the way". Whatever the reason, it's quirky and weird and fun. I liked it.
Then it drops to the ground into some El Toro-like zig zag track and that sets you up for three of the most violent (yet comfortable) bunny hops on earth. Again, stapled down like crazy, but it doesn't matter. You believe you get airtime, somehow. I can imagine that if the bar wasn't already tight on your thighs, you'd have some pretty serious bruises in short order from slamming the bar so many times with such force.
We hit the brakes with everyone cheering and clapping and laughing. The best way I can describe it is El Toro and New Texas Giant had a kid and he's in his raucous teen years. There are traits of both coasters here, just crammed into a package half the size and just as intense.
If you like your coasters to knock your socks off, disorient you, throw extreme forces at you, then run you back to the station before you've even had time to figure out "dafuq was THAT?" then you're going to freaking LOVE this ride. I did. It's slotted at #3 on my steel list right now, just ahead of NTGiant. It's my #1 steelie in the US.