Thoughts on Anton's Custom Speedracers

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 10:28 AM
With Great America's Whizzer always rumored to be on its way out, I started thinking about Mr. Schwarzakopf's super-sized Jumbo Jets. Unlike most of his rides, they had a relatively short life: SFOT's Big Bend lasted about a decade, WoF's Zamberzi Zinger and Great America's (CA) Whizzer only two. I guess the spiral lift contributed to that?

Did anyone around here have a chance to ride any of the other custom speedracers (preferrably the SFOT or WoF rides)? If so, were they as good as, or better than, the seemingly-identical Whizzer rides that Marriott built at their parks? It seems that these classic Anton rides, Big Bend in particular, are forgotten by most enthusiasts.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 10:48 AM
I think that most would agree that Zambezi Zinger was a far superior ride to the Whizzer twins. I may be wrong, but it seemed to be a longer ride, and the fourth drop was a *major* highlight to the ride. Also, the incredibly long and *dark* tunnel toward the end made a big impact as well.

Man I miss that ride!!! I wonder if it rides as well in the new location?

The closest I ever came to riding Big Bend was seeing the trains on a semi trailer bed from the top of the lift hill of the Screamin' Eagle.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 10:49 AM
ACE hasn't forgotten about them. The upcoming fall issue of RollerCoaster! has a nice article on the Schwarzkopf Speedracers. It should be mailed before Thanksgiving.

I never did get to ride Big Bend, but I did ride Zambezi. It was a fun ride, but not as good as Whizzer. I was shorter both in length and height and slower than Whizzer. It had the same kind of long shallow drops and swoop turns that Whizzer has, they just weren't as long or as intense. It did have a nice tunnel finale.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 10:55 AM
Although I didn't get to ride Zambezi or Big Bend, I was always fascinated by them (as well as all the other Schwartzkoph coasters). I was lucky enough to run the Whizzer in Santa Clara before it closed.

Those trains were HEAVY (I've pushed many different kinds of loaded trains and these were the heaviest by far). I'd imagine they are rough on the structure and perhaps a little more expensive to maintain than other types of coasters.

Still, swoops, swamp, and nice bogeys. Sigh. Now I'm getting nostalgic. ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 10:56 AM
Nice. I can't wait for the new issue. I remember a small feature on Big Bend a few years back and it was quite interesting.

I ask which was the "superior" ride because I hear a lot of conflicting stories (taking into account that opinions are opinions). People who rode the SFOT ride say it was the best because it had two lifts and was really long. Some people say the Zinger was better than the Whizzer twins because they claim it had more intense features but others say the Zinger was too short.


I know the Zinger operates in South America- is it safe to assume that the SFOT and PGA rides were scrapped?

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 11:28 AM
Big Bend was moved to SFSL but never reassembled. I've heard rumors from people who worked there that some of the steel was used in various places throughout the park, but there wasn't much of a market for scrap metal back then and most of the coaster was buried on the property.

The Whizzer from PGA is believed to have been scrapped.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 1:49 PM
I rode both the Kansas city and the Chicago versions. I'll have to say that both were excellent and very different rides, although the Zinger was longer and very senic. I am tempted to include the Revolution (the lapbar-less version) as a Speedracer. I believe it was the first of these extended Jumbo Jets in this country, maybe Germany had there own one-of -kind Schwartzkophs.
Wednesday, November 9, 2005 2:38 PM
I've only been on one of Anton's Speedracers and that's SFGrAm's Whizzer. Back on 2002, they had the signage in place that it was going bye-bye and so I waited an hour to ride it.

Best. Family. Ride. Ever (Yes, ever with an "e" ;))

I would like to see a resurrection of these types of rides. Everything about them is family-oriented and still pack quite a punch.

Those are my thoughts.

~Rob Willi

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 3:11 PM
Never rode Big Bend although I use to love watching the Banana Splits back in the 70's. They often filmed at SFoT and there was some really great footage (on & off) of the Big Bend.

I have ridden Whizzer at SFGA and although I really enjoyed it, it wasn't as thrilling as I was hoping.

Here are a couple great views of La Broca (formally Zambezi Zinger) at it's new home in Parque Nacional Del Café South America. I copied these pics 4-5 years ago but can't find the original site so I uploaded them myself.

I also have this aerial view of Zambezi Zinger while at WoF. Much if it is hidden in the trees but it's still an interesting photo.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 3:21 PM
Yes, more speed racers, PLEASE!!!
IMO, Zinger was far better than Whizzer. I first rode Whizzer in 1990 and every couple of years since. I rode Zinger every year from 1988 to 1997 and always thought it was a much better ride. The only thing Whizzer has on Zinger is the long "Beast-like" first drop/hill. That is a great element, building up speed and anticipation for the sudden turn at the bottom. But after that, the ride doesn't do much other than the second ground-hugging turn. Zinger had sudden drops with even a bit of air in a couple of spots and some great twists. The 4th drop, spiralling down into the dark woods was always my favorite part--some great laterals there. From this point on, the ride was well hidden in the trees and featured some nice use of the terrain, including a great helix skimming the edge of a wall of earth. And then there was the long, dark horseshoe tunnel before hitting the breaks--great ending.

One difference that always sruck me was the sound of the spiral lifts. Zinger's was a loud, buzzing sound while Whizzer's has less of the buzz plus the clackety clack anti-rollback sound. Also, I seem to remember Zinger having 3-car trains while Whizzer has 4-car trains.

I've always been curious about The Big Bend, especially with its TWO spiral lifthills. Was it twice as long of a ride or did it have two short lifts like a mine train?

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 3:23 PM
Thanks for the pics! I always wondered how they would accomodate the terrain aspects of Zinger at its new location. See guys? You CAN reocate a terrain coaster. And someone said Steel Phantom couldn't be moved. ;)
Wednesday, November 9, 2005 5:06 PM

Jeffrey Seifert said:
...most of the coaster was buried on the property.

Buried... as in, a hole was dug, the parts were tossed in and dirt was pushed on top of them? What a sad- and weird- way for a coaster to die!

If you're going to include SFMM's "original" Revolution, you might as well include Hersheypark's sooperdooperlooper. But if you want to get technical, I think that Revolution and sdl are called "looping speedracers" so they already have their own classification.

Thanks for the pics, swampfoxer. I've been looking for an aerial shot of that ride for years! Too bad some of it is obscured by trees... does anyone have any layout diagrams of any of the speedracers?

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 5:11 PM
Thoughts? More, please!

Seriously, if your park HAS one of these gems, and you're considering removing it, go see a psychiatrist!

Does Tim Black read C-buzz? ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 5:17 PM
Shall we conduct a search for one in the Gurnee area? ;)
Wednesday, November 9, 2005 5:17 PM
I've got a fairly accurate NoLimits recreation of Zinger if anyone is interested. I can send some screens of the layout.

EDIT: Here ya go. Check out this overview. *** Edited 11/9/2005 10:50:12 PM UTC by Acoustic Viscosity***

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 5:49 PM

rollergator said:
Thoughts? More, please!

Seriously, if your park HAS one of these gems, and you're considering removing it, go see a psychiatrist!

Does Tim Black read C-buzz?

Tim Black isn't at SFGAm anymore, he was replaced by Ron Sevart after the 2004 season.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 6:06 PM
I use to have an overhead layout drawing of Big Bend but I can't seem to locate it. Here is an aerial view that gives you an idea of the rides size.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 6:59 PM
Wow, now I'm even more intrigued.
Wednesday, November 9, 2005 11:00 PM
Wow... great stuff! Big Bend really covered a lot of real estate!

Acoustic: That layout of the Zinger is what I've been looking for... thanks so much. How can I get my hands on that recreation?

Thursday, November 10, 2005 12:22 AM
Send me an e-mail. I will attach the file in a reply.
The track isn't perfect, but pretty darn close. Mostly, I think I made the curves too wide. *** Edited 11/10/2005 5:22:57 AM UTC by Acoustic Viscosity***

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