First look: Oaks Amusement Park's new 'coaster
Last December, we all said our goodbyes to the venerated "Looping Thunder" rollercoaster at historic, nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park.
By mid-February, the management of this century-old amusement park was clearly making good on their promise to replace their imported Italian rollercoaster with a brand new "and better" one.
"As of today, the only part that remains to be installed is the top cap on one of the big loops," pointed out Oaks Amusement Park Promotion and Events Manager Emily MacKay, in our preview interview. (It has since been completed.)
"It was delivered and crates and pieces, and been amazing to watch, seeing it go up like a giant Erector set – surprisingly quickly," MacKay told THE BEE.
Since December, after the old ride was cleared away and its pieces stored, workers carefully poured concrete foundation pilings deep into the ground for the new ride – ready for the new parts to arrive. "So far, preparing the area was a bigger project than assembling the new ride," observed MacKay with a rueful grin.
Within about ten days, and under the watchful eye of Martin Däxle – the engineer sent by the manufacturer, Gerstlauer Amusement Rides GmbH – the ride had been fully assembled.
For 'coaster enthusiasts, Gerstlauer calls this model of their tubular steel-rail roller coaster the "Euro-Fighter" – featuring the company's "patented" 97 degree initial drop, making it one of the steepest coasters available to riders anywhere.
Other statistics include:
· 72 foot vertical lift
· 97° first drop
· 1,050 feet vertical length
· The ride features two train cars
· Eight people per train car, riding in two rows
· Maximum speed 45 miles an hour
· About 500 people per hour can enjoy the ride
What classifies this as an "extreme" amusement park ride? Three main elements:
1) The more-than-vertical drop initial drop, which takes riders into a large loop.
2) Immediately following is an "Immelmann turn", in which riders enter a half-loop followed by a half-twist, and then exit the element traveling in the opposite direction – having made a 180-degree turn.
3) Last is the "Heartline roll" (sometimes called a barrel roll) in which the train twists – inverting the train, so the rider makes a 360-degree roll on one axis, where the track twists – before heading back into the station.
While "extreme", it's still designed to accommodate kids, teens, and adults 48 inches high or taller. "Our old 'coaster left a lot of little faces in tears, because riders needed to be 54 inches or taller," MacKay explained. "If everything continues as smoothly as it has been, this ride will open on our season's opening day for Spring Break, on March 24!"
And, the new ride has just been officially named for Oaks Park: The Adrenaline Peak Roller Coaster, submitted by 20 year old Clackamas Community College student William Phillips.
"He'll receive a $500 Oaks Amusement Park Gift Card for his winning entry," MacKay smiled.
Looking up at the ride, as the construction neared completion, Gerstlauer's Martin Däxle said, "I feel really good seeing this attraction go up. This ride will provide memories and thrills that people will remember for a lifetime!"
Find out more about the "Adrenaline Peak Roller Coaster", and 113-year-old Oaks Amusement Park, online – www.oakspark.com