Hard Gaan in Walibi Holland
Slowly but surely one can say that Walibi has recovered from the Six Flags era. The re-branding of the brand in 2012 and the changes in the park that went along with it were long enough, but there were no novelties except for the reactivation of the roller coaster Speed of Sound and the truly ingenious design of the launch coaster Xpress: Platform 13. As successful as the restructuring of the park around the fictitious bands W.A.B. and The Skunx is, it seems that people in Holland prefer to go their own way and simply throw a lot of things overboard; because “Hard Gaan” and so on. There’s not much sense in that anymore, especially since they now serve a rather antisocial clientele. But what can you do when the biggest competitor serves all other target groups? As a first step to go fast, according to the literal translation, was to rob Speed of Sound of its soundtrack. Sure, the new track is good, but it takes away its history. The second step was taken this year with the opening of the roller coaster Lost Gravity.
The design of the queue is wacky, but partly very conservative and inevitably reminds of the roller coaster Dizz of the Belgian amusement park Bobbejaanland. A lot more would have been possible here, especially since the custom-made comic universe of Morvan, L’Hermenier and Wuye provided a lot more possibilities. The cars of Lost Gravity, on the other hand, are truly unusual. Similar to the Intamin Wing Coasters, they offer two seats with a corridor and two without, but also have a high front. The seating comfort is great and the design of the cars has very little, or more precisely, a negligible effect on ride comfort.
The ride begins with a right turn out of the station before it quickly climbs up via a chain lift. Without any rest the car immediately throws itself down the 32 height meters in an insane way; at least this is the case if one has taken a seat on the left side of the car. The extremely steep and widely twisted gradient is breathtaking without question, but at the right side it is almost boring compared to the left side, the radius is simply too narrow. With a lightning speed you pass over a ground level double-up, over whose hill you literally fly, before you find yourself on a top-hat element that is slightly tilted to the side; which you could also describe as a non-inverted banana roll, if you like. Somewhat contradictory to the previous layout is a huge camelback hill, which takes the passengers out of their seats again. At a breathtaking height, one now races through a wide turning curve, which in addition is also tilted outwards. So far, so good, and if Lost Gravity would end now, it would be a very short roller coaster, but also an extremely ingenious one. But instead of the final braking section there is a block brake followed by the second part of the ride.
After having reduced your speed, you now lean to the side and dive towards the ground again in a dive loop. A tight turn and a Zero-G roll are now carried out in a very tame way. The next turn will also be a turn where at least one of the acceleration vectors is zero. As a result, it is no longer possible to speak of a dynamic ride. You constantly brake and accelerate from new, which is equivalent to the accordion effect known from traffic jams. Over a hill you change direction again, cross another hilltop, pass a last pressure-laden valley, make a last turn and then find yourself in the final brake of the ride.
Lost Gravity is an excellent roller coaster for a little stop along the way, but nothing more. The first rumors were still about a revolving gondola roller coaster, this would have been hardly feasible with the first part of the ride, but ideal for the second. Either way, the first part is absolutely amazing, but the second one is wasted. The last curves are still a lot of fun and let you leave the ride with a little grin on your face, but the premiere of Mack Rides Big Dipper was not as convincing as it should be; at least there is enough potential for further installations.
Pictures Walibi Holland
Finally, I would like to appeal to human reason, which Dutch students probably no longer call their own. I assume that the student in question is striving for an equivalent to the German Abitur (as nowadays everyone does) and therefore should not be stupid – but how could one come up with the idea to sit on the seat and hold on loosely in a rafting ride with movable boats, like Rio Grande is? This is dangerous and should normally be rewarded immediately with exclusion from the park for a lifetime. If this boy would have fallen into the water and drowned, I would have neither been shocked nor worried about him; in fact, it was predictable. His buddies were similar, but in the postfactual age, you can’t let something arbitrary like rational rules distract you from your own horniness. Let’s all have a selfie! Yeah!
Walibi, you’d better think about Hard Gaan again, you might not be doing yourself any favours in the end.
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