8 January 2023
Speed attracts thrill-seekers like nothing else. Hurtling along in a carriage on rails, twisting and turning, stomach lurching, rollercoasters give the ultimate adrenaline rush. They let you experience speed - with G-force pinning you to your seat with your heart in your mouth as you drop almost vertically. Designers change the acceleration and position to the ground throughout the ride to create a varied, thrilling experience. You can feel pinned to your seat or weightless during airtime when the acceleration makes you feel you are being pulled out of your seat.
Speed is created in different ways on the different UK rollercoasters but it’s the most important factor in exciting the riders who must conquer their fears to step aboard. Witnessing the rides as you queue builds anticipation. The screams and excitement of other riders whizzing by is unsettling, triggering fight or flight instincts.
Stealth at Alton Towers is the UK’s fastest ride, thrusting cars to 80mph in less than 2 seconds up a 62-metre hill. It uses the same horsepower as two Formula 1 cars. This is a short, intense white knuckle ride lasting 29 seconds. The track structure is called a top hat as it makes a 90-degree angle as it reaches the top of the ascent and turns to descend. The pause at the top gives riders a very brief view before they plummet downwards.
The Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach reaches 74mph during an almost 3 minute ride. Trains leave the station and travel into a tunnel before climbing the lift hill to a height of 65 metres. The Big One is the tallest rollercoaster in the UK. After admiring the views riders experience a 3.5G force as they drop 62m. The trains bank left and climb 3 more hills before finishing with a helix.
Oblivion at Alton Towers was the world’s first vertical drop rollercoaster when it opened in 1998. It reaches 68mph producing a G-force of 4.5G. The cars pause at the top of the slope so riders can see the heart-stopping drop before plunging down. The ride lasts 1 minute 15 seconds.
The Odyssey at Fantasy Island is a suspended looping rollercoaster that reaches 63 mph. It puts riders through 5 inversions on its 38m vertical loop, cobra roll, sidewinder and corkscrew.
Rita at Alton Towers accelerates out of the station to reach 61 mph in 2.5 seconds. It is set in the supernatural Dark Forest and a sinister voice urges you to escape as the train sets off. It navigates curves at high speed and hills giving airtime as it follows a figure-of-8.
To ensure restraints function properly these rides are restricted to riders over 1.4m tall.
Although they are not for the faint-hearted, the adrenaline rush of a rollercoaster gives you endorphins leaving you happy all day. A healthy rivalry between the theme parks has produced a collection of world class rollercoasters in the UK where you can satisfy your need for speed on record-breaking rides.