European Odyssey 1.1 -- Thorpe Park (July 13)

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Thorpe Park was a great way to kick off the first week of the ACE 2002 European Odyssey. ACE members had been responsible for getting themselves to Europe, and to meet at either the pre-tour hotel (Novotel Hammersmith) or at Thorpe Park itself. Those of us who had stayed one or more nights at the Novotel went downstairs and checked out to find 5 tour buses waiting for us. After loading up our luggage and verifying we were all there, we were off.

Thorpe Park is a relatively small park owned by the Toussad's group, the same company responsible for Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures, Heide Park, and many other attractions (Madam Toussads Wax Museum for instance). Small, but growing -- construction on the next coaster, an inverted to be named Nemesis:Inferno has already begun (more on that in a minute)

Our morning ERT was on Thorpe's new-for-2002 Intamin multilooper, Colossus. With 10 inversions, the pre-ride consensus was that it would be a ride with 10 inversions stuck in there for the sake of the record, and not actually be all that much fun.

We were wrong.

So are 10 inversions a bit much? Perhaps. But man is it fun. The 10th inversion, a final heartline twist just before the station, is actually the BEST on the ride, and one of the best anywhere. It sweeps down towards the ground, so close that it gives a VERY effective headchopper effect.

I rode Colossus three times during the ERT -- once in front, on the second train out; once in back; and once near the middle. The consensus? The MIDDLE seat is actually the best ride. The front felt very slow, while the back resulted in some headbanging, but the middle was smooth and fun.

After the ERT, several of us headed straight over to the "Virtual Queue" for Colossus to make sure we'd be able to get another ride in. The way the system works at Thorpe (and Alton, as it turns out, so probably at all Toussad's parks) is you insert your admission ticket in a barcode reader, and it spits out your ticket with a slip of paper with a time range ("Please enter the Virtual Queue entrance between 11:15 and 11:35"). The system worked very well, and it seemed very few people at Thorpe knew about it. Overall during our stay, including the ERT rides, I rode Colossus 6 times (1 front, 1 back, 4 middle)

While waiting for our first Colossus VQ ride, we headed over to Thorpe's other coaster, X:\No Way Out. This is a VERY odd indoor coaster. I can't say it did much for me, but it was different. It runs backwards, and at several places comes to a dead stop while you get blown with fans or mist. Just too weird to fully express.

I also rode a few other rides while at this park:

Vortex -- This flatride is a permanent installation of a KMG Afterburner. Picture a Frisbee with inverted-style seating, and you've basically got it. After my first ride I quickly decided that this could possibly be my favorite flatride, even over a Zipper (a distinction that would fall again by the end of the tour). I rode it twice, and the second ride was actually even better.

Mr Monkey's Flying Banana -- a small swinging ship type ride, with 3 rows on each side, decorated to look like a banana. Cute, fun, and the queue was right by the construction area for the upcoming Nemesis:Inferno, allowing me a few sneak glances at the footers.

Detonator -- A short drop style ride, affording a GREAT view of the inverted construction zone. Thorpe offers a "single riders" line (actually the exit ramp), so I was able to walk right up and get on bypassing what could have been a good hour line.

Flying Fish -- This was a small "powered coaster". I don't really consider these to be roller coasters, as they never truly coast, but it IS a good, intense little ride.

As for Thorpe's upcoming ride, signs all over the fences blocking the construction area off proudly proclaimed that the new-for-2003 inverted coaster would be called Nemesis:Inferno (apparently there will be some tie-in to sister park Alton Tower's Nemesis), "The best roller coaster experience ever". I hope to be able to return to the park to see if this claim holds :) From Detonator, it was evident that a LOT of footers have already been poured and much land has been cleared, but the actual layout wasn't clear to me from the brief look I got.

At 4pm we all piled onto our buses for the lengthy 5 hour drive to Pontin's, where we'd be staying for the next 4 nights.

"Are you justified in taking life to save life?" -- The Great Debate, Dream Theater
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Nice TR! I look foward to reading the rest of you tri reports from the European Odyssey!


Good TR. I like reading about parks that we don't always hear about.

Steel: 1)MF, 2)Goliath, 3)Magnum
Wood: 1)Villain, 2)Beast, 3)Roar(SFMW)

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