Specific Type: Terrain Coaster
Britain was behind in the coaster world. The United States invented the continuous circuit coaster. They had built magnificent roller coasters in the 1920 that dotted the countryside. Britain, they had their own coasters, but no where near the amount of the United States. World War II broke out, and Britain was left with few remaining roller coasters. However, The United States also had a decline in coasters, yet still was ahead of the British
Next came the Germans in the 1970s. Their new roller coaster company Schwarzkopf saved the coaster industry. Germany was now full of gigantic fair coasters and plenty of new parks. Mainland Europe also prospered on this, with amusement parks building themselves around the continent. The Americans were having a coaster revival as well with Arrows coming to power. The Britons, they got coasters from both, but nothing special. It seemed like Britain would never get a memorable roller coaster.
However, a park in Yorkshire was about to change everything. The little known park called Lightwater Valley was going to build an unimaginable coaster. The Ultimate, a very fitting name, was to blow the minds out of people. It would be a coaster that no one expected to be in such a small park. Ultimate would open to be the longest roller coaster on Earth, a staggering 7442’ long. It would be so big that it went off park grounds towards the countryside. It would redefine a roller coaster in its own sense.
Ultimate was such a complex coaster that it involved several companies in the process. The roller coaster was designed by Big Country Motioneering, which wasn’t involved in the building. It was also designed by Robert Staveley. Lightwater Valley hired British Rail engineers to make sure the coaster was going in the right direction. Tubular Engineering made the track. The track is made of steel, despite the wooden supports.
Ultimate opened on July 17th, 1991. It opened as the longest roller coaster in Britain, Europe, and the world. It remained the longest coaster in the world until 2001, when Daidarasaurus took its place as the longest. Today, it remains the longest operating roller coaster in the world and the longest in Europe.
Visitors to Lightwater Valley must head to the back of the park in order to ride Ultimate. This means going past other roller coasters such as Twisterand Grizzly Bear. Once they get to the massive wooden structure, they will wait in line until its their turn to ride. Once its their turn to ride, they choose which one of 38 seats they would like to sit in.
When everyone is loaded, the train leaves the station and does a ninety-degree left handed turn. The Turn leads into a slow, 102’ lift hill. The lift leads to a beautiful view of the country, before plunging to the ground. Rides then go over two airtime hill, the second having a 30 degree turn while heading down.
Another 30 degree left-hander leads into a straightaway through the forest. The run finishes with a 30 degree right-hander. A quick block break is followed by a series of mini airtime hill. The six airtime hills finishes off at the second lift hill.
The second lift hill is a slow and rises to 107’, larger than the first. At the top, the riders get extra time to enjoy the views. The ride does a 90 degree left hander before going through a straightaway. The straightaway leads to the second drop, which rides speed down at 50 MPH.
The second drop loads into a forest, where rides go through a series of 180-degree turns. These turns use the terrain to rise and fall while speeding through the forest. After five turns, the ride does a 90 degree right hander and the going through a straightaway. The straightaway leads to a downhill 45 degree turn, followed by a quick airtime hill. A gradual 30 degree left hander jolts into a 45 degree right hander and another airtime hill.
A straightaway leads to a 45 degree right hander before forcing the riders through a 135-degree left hander. The turn comes before a tunnel, which leads to a 270 degree uphill, left-handed helix. Immediately following is a 270 degree right handed helix, which ends up in the same tunnel. Exiting the tunnel, riders take a slow ride back to the station, with only a 90 degree turn and a quick lift hill to worry about.
Ultimate opened a new world for England. It opened the coaster world to England. Afterward, rides such as Pepsi Max Big One, Nemesis, and Shockwave. It also redefined roller coaster length. Beast at Kings Island is 7,359’ long and covers 35 acres. Ultimate, on the other hand is 7,442’ long and covers 44 acres.
So, if you want a British roller coaster with incredible length and a long history, then go ride the Ultimate.
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