Specific Type: Suspended Looping Coaster
Michigan’s Adventure got back into the mix as a major amusement park attraction in 2008 with the addition of Thunderhawk. This ride, your standard Vekoma Suspended Looping Coaster, was brought over from Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom when the amusement park section of that park closed at the end of the 2007 season. As a result of this park’s closing, Cedar Fair took advantage of the leftover rides by sending Dominator to Kings Dominion, Steel Venom to Dorney Park, X-Flight to Kings Island,Head Spin to Carowinds, and Thunderhawk to Michigan’s Adventure. Despite being a transplanted ride, Thunderhawk was dubbed a “new for 2008” attraction and was well received by the fans. The ride underwent a bit of a color transformation after it moved north to its new home, but besides that the ride remained fairly unchanged. Drawing information from reviews of those who have ridden several SLC’s, Thunderhawk is one of the smoother rides of this model that are out there. Combined with the addition of the flume ride, Grand Rapids, the addition of Thunderhawk shows that Cedar Fair is willing to put effort into making Michigan’s Adventure a staple in midwestern amusement parks.
Thunderhawk begins with the boarding of the trains, which consist of ten rows of two riders sitting next to each other for a total of twenty riders per train. The train climbs the 109' 3" lift hill and gets ready to depart upon its 2260' 6" long journey of twisted track. As the train crests the lift it begins falling fast while also turning to the right. After it reaches the bottom of its descent the train heads right back up to enter its first inversion, a twice inverting roll over element. It begins with half of a loop, followed by two half corkscrews and another half loop. After it’s all done twisting and flipping the train is headed in the same direction that it was before it entered element. Riders don’t have much time to reorient themselves since next up is a banked turning hill maneuver followed by a sidewinder inversion, which is very similar to the immelman found on a lot of Bolliger and Mabillard inverted coasters. Up next after the sidewinder is a banked turn that sends the riders going perpendicular to their previous direction of travel. As soon as the turn ends the train flies through not one, but two inline twists taken back to back. These inversions provide the riders with excellent footchoppers, the sensation that the riders’ feet are going to hit the supports of other parts of the track. Of course, the ride is safe and this doesn’t happen. After the riders get done twisting head-over-heels twice, the train takes a right turn, followed by a downhill left turn. Next up is a gentle right turn as the train slides into the final brake run.
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