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 Review of Lightning Racer @ Hersheypark
0 Rating Posted by: shag9004 on 9/2/2008 6:38:00 PM
Date Ridden: Summer of 2008. Times Ridden: 4 Every so often, you hear of a coaster that sounds so unique and interesting that when it is finally ridden, there is the inevitable let down. On our summer trip of 2008, Lightning Racer unfortunately fell into that category due to a number of reasons. However, lets look at some of its positives first. Lightning Racer is considered to be a dueling or racing coaster due to the fact that it contains two coaster trains which run simultaneously along two different tracks. The coasters in this case (named Lightning and Thunder) begin on staggered lift hills and are constantly flying beside and around the other coaster train. This technique is done to perfection with IOA&#39.s Dueling Dragons (see my review) and this ride is almost as good. Unlike other racing coasters, (Gemini at Cedar Point, Gwazi at BGA, etc.) it is never known which side will win. We rode each side twice and won both times on the Lightning side and once on the Thunder side. There are a variety of factors which cause once side to finish first and probably the way I leaned forward and yelled at the top of my lungs are not among them. Regardless, the racing aspect is great fun and adds to the overall experience. Both sides are also silky smooth with nary a hint of roughness. There are very few, if any, pops of airtime but there are tons of laterals which make up for it. The quick directional changes and transitions are smooth, fast, and fun as well. So what is the problem? This sounds dumb but I really don&#39.t know. I do have a few ideas but am not really sure if any of them are legit. This ride is a capacity machine since it runs two trains on each side. However, on our visit they had the entire middle of each train roped off. They only opened about 4 seats on the front and 4 on the back. I am not sure if this is standard procedure on slack days but this led to wait time in the station. Now granted, the wait time was not significant (less than 10 minutes) but as an enthusiast I was wanting re-rides. I do not think there would have been a problem filling each train on each ride so that was not an issue. It&#39.s also known among coaster enthusiasts that wooden coasters run better when the trains are full. The added weight usually adds speed and thus the elements are more enjoyable. Since wooden coasters do not have inversions (except for the former Son of Beast at King&#39.s Island) the laterals and speed are very important. Since Lightning Racer was not running full trains, I think some of this was lacking. Then again, I was looking for a better version of Dueling Dragons and this ride is definitely not that. Since wood is my preferred material of choice when riding coasters, I was fully expecting this ride to dive into my top 10 among the great woodies. Alas, it is not even in my Top 20 despite the high score I will still give it. Maybe another day I can make it back to Hershey and give this thing another whirl or two. Until then, Lightning Racer gets a solid 9 and, despite its shortcomings, is still the best ride in the Land of Chocolate. And it has a short wait.

Review Comments

Park on 12/26/2012 1:33:38 PM said:
Sadly they seam to rope off the middle more often than not and I agree that is stupid. And the middle is the best.
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