Specific Type: Terrain
1978. What do you think of when you read 1978? Well I personally think of the beginning of steel trend in coasters. Why? Because this is the time when the steel coaster is starting to mature and most of all it has developed an element unique to its type, something the tried and true wooden coaster didn't have. It had a loop, a corkscrew, an inversion. It turned your world upside-down. It was the final nail in the coffin for so many of the old wooden coasters from the likes of John Miller, Herbert Schmeck, and John Allen. It was the end of an era for coasters in one sense and the beginning of something new, something big, something radically different from everything that had come before it. And eventually the prosperity brought on by these new, cheap thrillers would bring about an overall coaster boom where all types would benefit, and the theme park world would rejoice. The coaster began to form when Six Flags placed an order with Intamin AG for two looping coasters. Revolution at their recently acquired Magic Mountain park in California was an astounding success and the wanted more. They were looking for custom loopers. Radical designs that would once again press the envelope as far as Revolution at the Mountain.
So in late 1977 Six Flags placed orders for two brand new, and drastically different, thrill rides from Intamin AG and resident designer Anton Schwarzkopf. Both of these rides would be double loopers. The first of their kind. Shockwave would go to Six Flags Over Texas and Mindbender would be arriving in Austell, Georgia at Six Flags Over Georgia where it would instantly become the top steel coaster in the United States.
Mindbender was formerly a dirt brown coaster. More of a mine-bender than a mind-bender. However, in 1996 it was repainted in a Riddler green that looks downright awesome. The box track is intimidating in the bright green and the "riddle me this" logo is great. So the ride itself...you start out from Gotham City. Enter the queue path (describing from memory it is my home park) and you wind through a path surrounded by some large rocks and numerous 50 foot pines. Typically the auxiliary section is rarely open and you take a shortcut that mean you don't get to see the infamous Mindbender "gum tree." You enter the station from the left. It is very disorganized to you have to pretty much push your way to the lane you want. There is no longer line for the front so that is rarely any longer than the rest. You board the train and pull down your otsr...WAIT WAIT WAIT...OTSR? Yeah right we ride lap bar only on this train. You go out straight over the transfer track and then up the lift. You do a quick 15 foot swoop turn and come around to the drop. The drop has some airtime but the best part is the loop which literally bends the human body into a pretzel around the single lap bar as you navigate your way through its powerful circle. Then you shoot up a hill with a dip at the top that delivers some great airtime. You make the hard banked, gradually descending turn around 90 degrees. Then you are ripped onto your left side and it flies 90 degrees more and then down at an insane angle into a semi-vertical 360 degree loop that brings you mere feet from the ground and then rockets you back up to the previous turnaround. You turn 45 degrees more to the left and dive down a great hill and back up into another swooping 180 degree turnaround and a dive into yet another insane loop that twists you into shapes you thought only a professional contortionist could manage. All this takes place right on the ground and then you shoot by a water fall and through a tunnel into a final high speed turn and then into the double long break run designed to be able to manage a 3 train operation a la Thriller or another Portable. With the 2 consecutive break runs one coaster train could be in the station one in the second break run and one on the course that could still be stopped by the first break run. Six Flags ended up only ordering 2 trains that have since been repainted black with green ?s all over them. Awesome g-forces can be found in abundance on this ride. Negative, positive, lateral, they are all here. The airtime is ejecting and the thrill factor is untouchable as the coaster flies through the mini-ravine it is situated in.
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