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 Review of Lightning Racer @ Hersheypark
3 Rating Posted by: Animan1 on 9/7/2006 3:54:00 PM
I really classify this as two different coasters, like Dueling Dragons. Individually, I rate each coaster a 9. But taken collectively, this one earns the elusive 10 that I only give to coasters that are not only great, but also have that extra dimension that defies definition, and indeed, may be something different for each coaster that has one. In this case, it is the rides incredible balance, pacing, fun, and, perhaps most impressively for a wooden coaster, smoothness and re-rideability that convince me that this one is an all star.

The fun starts with the aesthetics - this coaster, err, these coasters are some of the most beautiful that I have come across, with great sweeping turns, and drops and hills that run both parallel and over-and-under each other. Upon actually reaching the entrance and getting into the station, you pick your side and get your first really solid glimpse of the both beautiful and comfortable Millennium Flyer trains. In my opinion, these are the B&M hyper trains of the wooden coaster world.

Well, the appearance and trains are all very well, but how does it actually ride? The staggered lift is very loud, but works well to get the trains off to a fair start with the racing. It is also cool how it is difficult to see the other train when you are on Thunder, and impossible when riding Lightning, so that when coming down the great first drop (with laterals and airtime both on tap is good measure) another train almost magically appears and begins to race you. Well, if thats the way they want it, let the games begin! Up the 2nd hill and down again, just in time to split off, only to come back around on the turnaround and ride side-by-side through the tunnel for the on-ride photo. Flashing through some good turns, you approach a nice helix, with the other train doing the same in a slightly different manner. Then its out to duel it out mano-y-mano for the rest of the ride, with a number of bunny hills and laterals, the competitors criss-crossing over each other multiple times. One more dueling turnaround and its into the final stretch and up into the finish area and brakes. And look, youve won! Or maybe you havent. But regardless of the outcome, you are bound to have had fun in the chase.

The sides are fairly similar, but the layout is slightly different to each side, and I found Thunder to be slightly rougher, and significantly faster and more intense. Both are highly re-rideable though, so multiple ride are not only very feasible, but also highly enticing. Youll be hard pressed to find a better-balanced coaster out there. With the combination of speed, airtime, laterals, combination racing/dueling, smoothness, and fun, its a winner. Bottom line - best ride at Hersheypark.

Review Comments

RCGenius on 9/7/2006 8:58:01 PM said:
Excellent review Animan1 & I agree with you 100% about everything you said about Lightning Racer. Its definitely the best ride at Hersheypark. Nothing else comes close. Storm Runners too short, Great Bears boring & short, Comets only a great ride in the back seat, Wildcats a good woody, but it can get pretty shaky at times, & Trailblazer & SuperDooperLooper sucks. There isnt one thing I can say about Lightning Racers ride thats bad except that it couldve been a little bit rougher & it couldve had more airtime, but Lightning Racers probably the best all-around coaster experience youll ever get. It doesnt have a trademark element like SRs flying snake dive, but the elements it has wrapped all together pretty much destroys almost everything else Hersheypark has to offer.
Animan1 on 9/8/2006 8:21:41 AM said:
Thanks for the comments. I was surprised to find that Lightning Racer was my #1 coaster in the park - before my visit I would have predicted that Storm Runner or maybe even Great Bear would take that honor. But it really did beat just about everything else in the park by a long shot - it just has everything going for it and very little detracts from that experience.
Canobie Coaster on 9/8/2006 7:08:20 PM said:
Great review. Glad you enjoyed Lightning Racer. It really is an all-star coaster. Too bad it doesnt have the air-time that my other favorite coasters have.
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