Specific Type: Wood, Twister
On September 27, 2007, Six Flags St. Louis announced that they would be adding a one-of-a-kind wooden coaster to their ride lineup for the 2009 season to be called Evel Knievel. Earlier that year, the park opened the Gerstlauer spinning coaster,Tony Hawk’s Big Spin, the parks first coaster since the addition of the Custom Coasters International (CCI) wooden coaster, theBoss. As the parks eighth roller coaster, Six Flags St. Louis now had bragging rights for having the most roller coasters at a park in Missouri. The new coaster was themed and named after the famous American stunt performer, Evel Knievel, and would be built by Great Coasters International (GCI) at a cost of approximately $7 million. The ride would feature an 80-foot drop, top speeds of 50 mph, 2700 feet of twisted track, 16 hills, heavily banked turns, and seventeen total crossovers.
Evel Knievel was an American motorcycle stuntman and daredevil, who held numerous records throughout his career, including longest motorcycle jump and the most broken bones, which appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records. One of his most well known jumps was one in which he jumped fourteen Greyhound buses at Kings Island on October 25, 1975. Though he died before the rides opening, on November 30, 2007 as a result of his declining health, his son, Robbie Knievel was on hand to help promote the new coaster by jumping 25 Dodge Chargers on July 3, 2008.
The addition of Evel Knievel would mark Six Flags St. Louis as one of only eleven parks in the United States to have three or more wooden coasters, but it would also mark the death of several other rides. The coaster sits on the land that was previously occupied by the Moon Antique Cars, and the Looney Tunes Town kiddie land, where the Rockin’ Roller (also formerly known as the ACME Gravity-Powered Roller Ride, and Rock Candy Express) kiddie coaster had operated since 1975.
Your stunt-filled journey begins with a brief dip and 180-degree turn to the right, out of the station and around to the lift hill. After riders are hauled up to the top of the coasters 82-foot lift hill, the track then drops to the left, zooming under its own structure before rising up into a high, dipping turnaround, which carries riders around to the right approximately 270-degrees. The trains then drop back down towards the ground, angling to the left slightly before popping up over more of the rides track. The train then banks to the right, straightens out briefly, and rises into a heavily-banked, fan-like turnaround to the right. Running parallel to the rides lift hill, the train then rises up through one of the few straight sections of track on the rise, twisting to the left and dropping before banking back to the right and rising over a small bunny hill. The track then rises and falls to the left in another fan-like turnaround, hugging the ride’s first turnaround. Rising out of this turn, the train then turns slightly to the right, straightening out for the rides finale. Dropping back towards the ground once again, the train then traverses two small, straight bunny hills before hopping to the right over a third small hill. The ride finishes off with a classic, GCI-styled low turnaround, with multiple “hops” throughout, before the train rises into its final brake run, ending the 2,700-foot long twisted ride.
During the 2010-2011 off-season, Six Flags ended a number of branding contracts in an effort to help reduce company debt. Evel Knievel was included in this and is now known as American Thunder and any theming related specifically to the the world's most famous daredevil has been removed.
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