Of course, I'm referring to Lightning Racer at Hersheypark. I've been there twice so far this year and have ridden LR about 6 or 7 times. I'd say that while waiting to board, I've seen another 20 or so races. In all that time, I've only seen Thunder (the green train) win once. So that means Lightning won 95% of the duels.
It got so bad this past Sunday, that when our train got back to the station, there were only 4 or 5 people total waiting to ride Thunder, while there was a good 2 or 3 train wait on the Lightning side. Both sides seem to be riding OK, but it felt like Thunder just loses steam going into or coming out of the last turnaround. It seemed to be ahead every ride up to that point.
I know it's not the biggest deal in the world, but I'm wondering what other people have noticed. It takes some of the fun out of a really great ride if there's not much of a race between the two trains.
When I was there a few weeks ago Lightning won all of the circuits I saw or rode on.
My trip on the Thunder side seemed to be a bit more sluggish, almost as if the side wheels were coming into contact with the track more than the road wheels. Just seeing the Lightning train ahead of you makes that side seem a lot faster, when really both trains finish the course within seconds of eachother.
I've been to the park about 5 times this year so far and have pretty much noticed about a 70/30 split between Lighting and Thunder winning. What gets me this year, is how much the dueling has been off on some of my rides. I mean, one train beating another by an almost entire train length. I had never experienced race blowouts like that until this year. It kind of sucks when the trains are off during the tunnel part (where they take your picture) which IMHO is the best part of the ride.
I think this is more than just random weight distribution. Everytime I've been to HP (since 2001) Lightning *always* wins more often than it loses. There is something else going on that causes Lightning to run faster than Thunder more often. Not sure what though.
I always thought Thunder was a little *bumpier*.....not rough by ANY stretch, but just a few taps here and there can make a difference of a couple MPH. Over the course of a half-mile of track...you can see where Lightning could pick up some trackage on Thunder...
Still, the greatest racing coaster built since K-Wood and John Miller combined talent and terrain over 75 years ago to build the original "perfect racing coaster"....
I haven't noticed that Lightning won any time by a huge margin, just that it almost always wins. Enough to discount any random factors like weight distribution.
The one time I was on Lightning, I thought we were going to lose because Thunder seemed to be slightly ahead at the the first two turnarounds and through the crossovers. Of course, I'm just eyeballing it figuring out where my corresponding seat is on the other train and what I think is the midpoint of the turnarounds. But at the last turning loop and into the final stretch, it was obvious that we had pulled ahead.
It's still one of my top 2 or 3 woodies. It will be interesting to see if there's enough difference to enough people to show up in the wood coaster poll.