Specific Type: Hyper GT-X Coaster
After over four and a half years closed to the public, Kentucky Kingdom is set to finally reopen in May 2014. However when Six Flags left the park in 2009 they took the stand-up roller coaster Chang with them, leaving the park with no star attraction. And with only a handful of the old coasters reopening with the park, and the remainder to open in the years following, a successful new roller coaster is more important than ever to bring people back to the park. Lightning Run looks set to fit the bill and become the first new roller coaster at Kentucky Kingdom in 11 years.
Lightning Run is being built by Chance Rides at a cost of $7 million. It is the first “Hyper GT-X” roller coaster, a new product from the manufacturer that focuses on multiple banked turns and airtime hills, rather than inverting riders. Lightning Run also features a newly designed train with lapbar restraints, the lead car of which was shown of at IAAPA 2013. At 100 feet tall, it is of similar size and form to the Intamin Mega-Lite, which has yet to be built in the United States. Although not confirmed by the park, the name “Lightning Run” is likely a tribute to two previous roller coasters at the park, Thunder Run and the former Greezed Lightnin’.
The train leaves the station building and immediately starts climbing the chain lift hill. Riders crest the hill 100 feet above the ground and drop at an angle of 80 degrees. On reaching full speed, the track takes a turn to the left while travelling upwards. Riders receive a pop of airtime before dropping down and entering a tight over-banked turn. A turn to the right follows and the train crests a small hill before turning to the left. Riders are banked at an angle of 90 degrees before receiving another airtime pop. The track turns to the right while travelling upwards before taking another right turn and quickly changing direction and travelling downwards. Riders take a tight downward right turn and enter a banked s-curve. Upon exit, the train travels swiftly over three airtime hills before rising up and into the brake run. The track turns 180-degrees to the left and riders travel past the transfer track and back into the station.
Lightning Run not only looks set to thrill both the general public and enthusiasts alike, it will also put Kentucky Kingdom back on the map and revive its somewhat dated set of coasters. With T2, an inverted looping coaster and two wooden roller coasters, Lightning Run will round of the parks ride selection and provide a modern experience full of twists and airtime that no enthusiast would want to miss.
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