Racing and dueling....what's the difference when it works as intended?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 9:53 PM

My initial exposure to duelers and racers was undoubtedly Rolling Thunder and Rebel Yell. Living near Orlando, I've always been fond of the "interactive" nature of rides like Dueling Dragons and Gwazi. Lightning Racer came along at Hershey and significantly upped the ante...then Gwazi went to poop and the Dragons stopped dueling. It was disappointing in terms of reducing the excitement and enjoyment....

Then, in SoCal, my enthusiasm for the genre was the form of Twisted Colossus...

Now - I love RMC rides, but then add in the racing, and it was fantabulous. Wish the racing had been consistent, we got a couple "near races" and a batch of non-races,but there was one lap that was PERFECTLY synchronized...and I completely understand why some call it their #1 coaster. Sure do wish with the variable speed lift they'd max out the possible races, but just a foot or so difference leaving the chain is what created those "near races." At the speed the train carries, if you "lose" the other train, it's not possible to get racing again, the ride is too fast and short...

Just seems like parks would make more of an effort to take advantage of the added thrill/fun factor. Thoughts?

Thursday, May 11, 2017 12:57 AM

Racing coasters are awesome. Dueling coasters are too, but maybe not so much. Am I drawing a distinction? I think you have to.
I think the finest living racing coaster must be Blackpool's Grand National, although I've never had the 'pleasure'. The favorite from my track record has to be Racer at Kennywood. And really, they have so many similarities that make them great. With the exception of the turns out of the station, both sides are the same, side by side, throughout the entire run. In addition to fun, dip-filled figure eight layouts, they have those wide flat turns where the trains pass each other jockeying for position. Riders love the sense of competition, and those turns really help play it up. The other nice thing about both rides is they have a möbius track, so as long as two trains are present a real race is guaranteed every time. They absolutely must be released at the same time every time, or disaster could ensue.
Less successful racers, but still good rides, are the style with two separate sides like Rebel Yell and Gemini. When they're together they're great, but when they happen to fall apart from each other it saps some of the fun out of it. But no matter. On that style of ride you can run them as separate coasters all day long and it doesn't affect the operations at all, just the rider's experience.

As for dueling coasters I have mixed feelings. I liked Twisted Sisters a lot, but the dueling aspect of it didn't do much for me. Same with Gwazi. I enjoyed the hell out of each side, but the quick fly bys and near-misses (that really weren't) were less than successful for me. And if they got off they were really off. You could spend the entire ride with barely a glimpse of you're opponent.
Hershey's Lightning Racer and Efteling's Joris en de draak are quite similar to each other and represent another style. They are different profiled tracks that run side by side, splitting apart only briefly for interesting and fun turn-arounds. On each of those rides it's also possible to run them totally out of synch with little consequence, but for some reason it doesn't happen and the competition aspect of those rides remains strong.

As for your Twisted Colossus, it's an RMC I haven't tried. But when the exciting concept for the remodel was announced I turned into a praying man. "Please, God, let this work like it should". And sadly, another report just came in that it doesn't. Well, every time, anyway. I can see clearly that when the trains are in synch the interaction must be a blast, but if it happens so infrequently what's the point? It turns the ride into two rather short RMC rides interrupted unnecessarily by a lift.

So I have a question for you, Mr. Gator, since I haven't seen or ridden personally. Does it seem like it could be possible for them to come back and turn the ride into a two-stationed, separate track ride? A drawback would be that it would surely turn it into a very short ride, but on the plus side capacity would be increased and there's a greater chance of a successful duel every time. I'm just wondering from what you've seen if it would even be possible to do at this point.
Now, having asked that, and to answer your question, I think it would be fun to see a one station möbius track ride like this work every time, and I'm still intrigued by the concept. Maybe the Germans should take a crack at it.

Thursday, May 11, 2017 12:16 PM

Turning it into a two-station, separate-track ride...hmmm, first thought was "why not" - then I remembered the loose articles bin. Guessing you could maybe move it to the middle of the station, but then you'd have to rebuild the station to accommodate two load/unloads again, and it would basically require converting it back to the original Colossus set-up.

Given how close it came to a true race, and the variable-speed lifts...seems like the easiest (and by far the best) answer is to synch the trains 20' from the top of the lift, and have them go over *together* and at the same speed, at the same time. It made the ride INCREDIBLE when it worked....

Just think either half of the ride really would be too short, and too many variables to work out with the station.

Thursday, May 11, 2017 12:18 PM

I look at it this way, when Gemini at Cedar Point is racing it is one of my favorites in the park. When it is red side only, I rarely bother.

With Dragons and Gwazi, the dueling aspect to me is actually more effective in watching the coaster as a spectator. The ride experience isn't changed enough to really notice, IMO. However, I feel like with a ride like Lightning Racer, that could be different.

Thursday, May 11, 2017 6:32 PM

When Dragons dueled the first two dueling moments (the zero-g/air hill and the loops) were "Oh $h!7!" moments from the front and mildly interesting everywhere else, though not significantly more interesting than the castle near-miss on Ice's Cobra roll. The third duel was basically unnoticeable from anywhere on the train.

I hadn't thought about it much until now, but I do prefer racing. Kennywood's Racer came immediately to mind as a coaster in which the interaction between sides greatly enhances the experience.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Saturday, May 13, 2017 5:37 PM
Thursday, May 11, 2017 8:21 PM

I was at SFMM a few days last summer and I must say the crews were working pretty hard to get duels. My experience was about 75% success rate. Of about 10 rides, I only had one that didn't duel either lap.

What I don't get is why they don't just hold the train at the bottom of the lift ( or on it) and wait for the other to dispatch. It wouldn't even affect capacity, since the third train is stacked waiting for the other to leave the station at that point anyway.

Last edited by Coaster_Shark, Thursday, May 11, 2017 8:21 PM
Friday, May 12, 2017 12:16 AM

Coaster_Shark said:
What I don't get is why they don't just hold the train at the bottom of the lift ( or on it) and wait for the other to dispatch. It wouldn't even affect capacity, since the third train is stacked waiting for the other to leave the station at that point anyway.

It sounds like they need to build a shed.

Friday, May 12, 2017 8:43 AM

Coaster_Shark said:

My experience was about 75% success rate. Of about 10 rides, I only had one that didn't duel either lap.

Sounds like your margin of error is 15%.

Friday, May 12, 2017 9:04 AM

Ahhh. Math would seem that way but he said he had one lap that didn't duel on either.

He (presumably) was accounting for the trips where it dueled on only one lap of the ride.

Friday, May 12, 2017 9:27 PM

Yeah there's two laps each ride, and sometimes you get only one duel. I know how to divide 9 by 10. I was also generalizing from the experiences I was observing from the queue beyond my personal 10 rides. But since it seems you're a fan of accuracy here goes.

4 rides had 1/2 duels

5 rides double duels

1 ride none

14/20 is 70%, so I guess my personal experience was a little lower than my initial estimate regarding the success rate on those days.

Saturday, May 13, 2017 5:39 PM

Enthusiast card revoked!


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