Specific Type: Steel, Launched X-Car Coaster
Maurer Söhne began small. As a new engineering company, they were limited mostly to simple steelwork for buildings in the early decades of their formation. However, this all began to change when they were contacted a few years before 1996 by Drievliet Family Park, to build their first roller coaster. Maurer Söhne became a known company in the theme park industry, focusing mostly on smaller, family oriented rides such as Wild Mice and Spinning Coasters.
Since Drievlet Family Park was the host of Maurer Söhne’s first roller coaster, it was only fitting that they requested the company to design a whole new style of ride for their park. While most steel roller coasters are decked out with seatbelts and horsecollar shoulder restraints, Maurer Söhne’s take on a modern steel ride was an approach not attempted by any other modern manufacturer. The first launched X-Car roller coaster, known as Formule X, came into existence, with an open seat design and lap bar only restraints.
In Rome, Italy, plans for a new theme park began to surface. Rainbow Magicland would be the area’s only theme park, and because of that, needed to have a ride lineup that could get the attention of tourists and locals, instead of being ignored and shut down. With an outstanding assortment of family rides, such as the dark ride Huntik and indoor spinning coaster Cagliostro already planned, the park knew it needed something to bring in the thrill-seeking crowd. Rainbow MagicLand could have gone with any manufacturer, from Bolliger & Mabillard to Zamperla, but instead chose the X-Car from Maurer Söhne over all others. What resulted was Shock, a 115 foot tall steel thrill machine.
When visitors to Rainbow MagicLand first arrive at the park, it’s impossible to miss Shock. The metallic red and white structure looms over the road leading to the park, and the most exciting ride to watch run when entering the park. Immediatly to the right after entering the unique theme park, Shock’s entry plaza dominates over a lake in the center of the park. The industrial themed ride sign is directly under the rides only inversion, a heartline roll leading over the park’s pathways.
After park guests navigate through the winding queue, they are given a chance to board the six-seater ride vehicles. The lap bars pull down from the sides of the ride car once the six daring passengers take their seats. With no seat belts to check, the vehicle is ejected from the safe cover of the station canopy into a leisurely beginning to an outstanding ride. After a small swooping dip, the car passes over the storage track, but this ride isn’t ending there. After making a few small left turns into a brake run, the train prepares for the ride layout by taking a sharp dive into an earthy ditch.
Instantly, the launch kicks in, and with a metallic drone, shoots the vehicle to its top speed of 59 miles per hour. The ride seems to almost collide with the pathways below, but suddenly pulls up and makes its way up the 115 foot airtime hill at the peak of the ride. After soaring over the crest, riders float back into their seats, only to be shot sideways and out again as the car maneuvers the non-inverting loop that highlights the layout. At the peak of the spiraling element, riders have under a second to take in the mountains surrounding the park, before diving left back down to the earth.
From here, the most exhilarating element of Shock follows. The car dives under the lake, in a pit constantly filled with water pouring in. A quick rotation to the left marks the beginning of a two second overbanked curve, one of the most intense design features of any ride. After dipping under the water level once more, the car rises up to a midcourse break run. Air powered trims lightly click, but the vehicle doesn’t come to a complete stop, nor anything close to which.
Shock’s barrage of left turns continues, as the car swoops downwards, skimming next to pedestrians of the park. The 360 degree helix finishes before plunging riders into a four second weightless roll. With the lap bar only design, thrill seekers have nothing between them and onlookers below them, while given an experience comparable to what astronauts experience while in space. The ride then slams into the breaks, giving its adventurers a rest from the relentless coaster.
Shock is a signature ride that no other ride of the X-Car style can compare to, and is easily a competitor among some of the top steel launched coasters ever to be created.
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