Specific Type: Wild Mouse
On October 23, 2001, Carowinds announced that it would be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2002 by adding an 11th roller coaster to its lineup of attractions, Ricochet. Serving as the anchor to the parks re-themeing of the old “Carolina Crossroads” into the “Carolina Boardwalk” for its anniversary celebration, Ricochet is a family-friendly wild mouse coaster designed by Mack Rides. The park excitedly announced thatRicochet would be “a unique, fast track roller coaster packed with tight hairpin turns, abrupt twists, breathtaking bumps, and insane turnarounds.”
The former Carolina Crossroads section of the park sat as a mixed and rather un-themed area, sitting between current Thrill Zone, Carolina RFD (formerly Blue Ridge Junction), and the park’s entrance. The re-theme was meant to bring that section of park back to life and give guests more to do in between these other sections of the park, and that’s exactly what it did. Across from the Outer Hanks seafood eatery and situated between Carolina Cyclone, Vortex, and the Carolina Goldrusher, passing the coaster is inevitable. The front façade of the ride is meant to look like a roller coaster on a boardwalk, with a wooden-plank ramp and a lighthouse to beckon riders closer. Though it has the same name of the wild mouse at its sister park, Kings Dominion (Ricochet), the two coasters have vastly different layouts, with the one at Carowinds being the most common clone used by Mack for its wild mouse coasters.
After loading into the small, four-passenger cars, they make a quick 90-degree turn left out of the station and up the coasters unassuming 45-foot tall lift hill. Here is where the standard wild mouse insanity begins. Following a quick dip and tight left-hand turn to the left, the small cars glides straight along towards the edge of the rides footprint, at which point it whips around in a tight, hairpin, switchback turnaround back in the opposite direction. The ride performs this maneuver five more times, picking up speed as it goes, racking up the lateral forces as it goes as riders are pushed against the side of the cars. Leaving the 6th hairpin turn, the car heads for what would be its 7th U-turn, but after making a tight 90-degree turn to the left (half the hairpin U-turn), the turn suddenly widens and drops as the train swoops overhead of station and guests waiting in line.
Now under the hairpin turn-back section of the ride, the vehicles do a quick zig-zag and straighten out, popping up a small rise and into a short block break under the initial switchback. At this point, the ride makes two hairpin left turns before plummeting down to the ground on the rides biggest drop (approx. 35 ft), before rising up into another brake section. The coaster then makes another two hairpin left turns, gliding over the station in between, and pulls the track deeper into its structure, then tries to eject riders out of their seats with two airtime-filled hills that occur back to back. Be prepared to smile or scream for the camera situated at the bottom of the second hill. To finish up, the coaster goes through another two tight hairpin turns to the left (with a brake section in between) before making one last drop and rise into the final break run. Thus ends a wicked, wild, and fun little mouse coaster!
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