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Lightning Racer
Website: Hersheypark Homepage
Ride Type: Wooden Coaster
Ride Status: Running
Average Rating: 4.4314
TPC Overall Rank: #61 out of 2933 rides.
Reviews: 116
Last Review: 7/4/2013 6:48:00 AM
In User Top 10: 129 times.
User Tracker Count: 288 times.

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The Finish Line
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3 Rating
+4 Rating Rate Down Rate Up Timberman on 1/16/2005 2:26:00 PM
Lightning Racer taught me a difficult lesson about myself: Im a snob.

Let me take a step back. From the first time I laid eyes on a picture of this thing, I was enthralled. The intricate layout, the return of the true wooden racer, the Millennium Flyer trains...I thought I was looking at the future of wooden roller coasters, one that would reinvigorate the forms popularity and introduce a whole new generation to the incomparable experience that only a wooden coaster can deliver. Judging by the reviews on this board and the reactions Ive heard in the station during the numerous times Ive ridden the coaster, it may have done just that. I should be happy. I should be writing, "See guys, didnt I tell you woooden coasters were the best." I should, and do, congratulate Hershey Park for making this sort of investment in a monumental wooden roller coaster at a time when other parks of its stature were rushing to join the hypercoaster arms race.

So why does this ride leave me feeling so empty? After much soul searching, I have to admit to myself that its because the kid who once prided himself on liking underappreciated, dated, or non-mainstream music has grown up into the guy who likes underappreciated, dated, or non-mainstream roller coasters. If the Cyclone is The Clash, then Lightening Racer is Greenday, a bland pop sellout of an infinitely superior form. While all of you are raising your daggers, understand that criticizing any wooden roller coaster, especially one of this scale and grandeur, is painful for me. I want to be philosophical about Lightening Racer. I want to believe that its a gateway coaster, one that will introduce the uninitiated to the wooden coaster experience and perhaps encourage them to seek out the true classics on their own. And it may do just that. But I fear that instead people will ride Lightening Racer, decide that wooden coasters are great, seek out the biggest one they can find, ride Son of Beast, and then (when they recover from their trauma) call for its head and go back to their B&Ms.

Okay, maybe Im not being fair. Lightening Racer is in no way as bad or insidious as Greenday. Considered on its own merits, Lightening Racer is a tremendous feat of design, engineering, and construction that will provide clean, wholesome entertaintment for those age 6 to 66. The trains negotiate the intricate track flawlessly. The transitions are smooth but often unexpected, and the ride maintains a pleasing (but never demanding, mind you) sensation of speed all the way to the break run. Take your most roller coaster resistant friend or relative on the Lightening Racer, and they will likely come off a fan.

As for me, I rode it over and over again trying to find something to love, but to no avail. The Millennium Flyers, equipped with the latest in modern, lawyer-sanctioned restraints, are still comfy, open, and mildy nostalgic. Racing the other train is fun, especially since the two only come together side-by-side for the final, always close sprint to the finish. The beauty of the ride makes for incomperable postcard shots. But for all that, the strongest feelings the ride invoked in me were disappointment and indifference. Honestly, I tried to pay attention, knowing that I would someday have to defend a review that would make a lot of people mad, but nothing about the course sticks out in my mind as particularly noteworthy. Oh thats right, it was smooth...very smooth. If this is the future of the wooden roller coaster, then this critic will continue to dwell in the past, happily listening to "Among the Living" by Anthrax as I drive to Kennywood for a ride on the Thunderbolt.<script src

5 Rating
0 Rating Rate Down Rate Up RCGenius on 1/9/2005 8:58:00 PM
Off the hook. Lightning Racers got everythang. It has great speed, an excellent track length (whichs what I look for the most when it comes to great coasters), a long tunnel whichs a great spot for on-ride camera photos to be taken, & the dueling/racing aspect makes it a great ride. I can ride Lightning Racer all day long & never get bored of it because it may not have that signature element, but the all-around layout has to be one of the best around & the fun factors still a major point considering that there are many riders who have a lot of spirit when it comes to actually racing. Thunders probably my favorite side, but I like Lightning too because to me, it has a lil more airtime to it & it has more of an out of control feeling. You couldnt ask for a better overall wooden coaster experience that has a mix of everythang. Kudos for GCI to build this masterpiece of a wooden monster dueler/racer. It couldve had some more airtime, but its a Top 10 coaster nevertheless & itll always remain in my Top 10 since its my second favorite woody (only behind the Pheonix). Dont miss the Lightning Racer, the worlds 1st dueling/racing wooden coaster, at Hersheypark.

4 Rating
0 Rating Rate Down Rate Up Hercules on 11/11/2004 1:45:00 PM
Well YEE HAA, this is the perfect type of coaster for the NASCAR crazed state of good ole Pennsylvanee. Buckle up and keep on truckin, YEE HAA. To be serious for a moment, Im not a racing fan but I am as competitive as a guy as you will find. So, if you have a race with some GCI goodness, I am all over it. The ride is excellent in my opinion. It is fun to root for the side that you are in line for when in the station. "And the winner is... Thunder!!!" WOOOO. "And the winner is... Lightning!!!" OHHHH, the world is ending save yourselves. That is basically how it is with one side cheering like they cashed as the World Series of Poker and the other side looking like their dog Spike just died. Coming out of the station there are taunts and glares exchanged and then you peak the lift and are flying. The trains glide effortlessly over the track, no matter how much I hate the look of them. This ride is perfect for those of all ages because it does not throw you around but it does give a pretty good thrill and is exciting. The racing element makes the ride though. Without the racing, this ride would be nothing better than your average new generation wooden coasters. But the way it is makes this a great coaster, far from the average. Great pacing and crossovers galore. How great and fun. The course is like a hybrid of some sort - twister/something with something else thrown in there with a bag of chips. I dont know how to explain the layout, but it is interesting. Then you come flying down the straight away home stretch and through the finish line. And the winner is... well, you will either be the ones cheering and pointing and laughing at the dejected losers in the other train, or you will be the ones getting pointed at. Either way, you deserve a pat on the butt for a good effort. Thats the way you feel. Eventhough you had absolutely nothing to do with the outcome you will come off saying "Man we did awesome.", or "We could have done better. Maybe if I didnt hold my hands up in that one part." Fortunately, I have been on the winning end everytime that I have ridden. "I cant lose." - yeah that is me. Weird how I think that isnt it? Go ahead and think Im crazy, but once you ride you will know what Im talking about. Good ride overall and really fits in well with the rest of the park nicely. Great job Hershey.

5 Rating
0 Rating Rate Down Rate Up Fore91 on 9/8/2004 3:35:00 PM - User's Top Ride #7
I have ridden racing coasters like the gemini at CP and the racers at Kennywood. This is nothing like those. There are very few places where you "race" side by side. This alone is awesome. There must have been alot of thinking in making this coaster because they hit the nail on the head with the dueling aspect of the ride. Also, I have never ridden a racing/dueling coaster where there are closer finishes than the LR. Both times I rode it, the trains finished within two cars. Now, you have to realize that each car only holds two people. Im talking a difference of a couple of feet!

5 Rating
0 Rating Rate Down Rate Up Swimace on 8/8/2004 6:09:00 PM
My new favorite woodie. The racing aspect is cool. You really do compete with the other train. You get great airtime in the back, but it sorta lacks in the front. The first drop was great, and I thought the thunder/lightning on-ride photo thing was pretty cool. The Millenium Flyer trains were really comfortable. Thunder won most of the time when I was there, but it was still fun to ride both. This thing never had a long line either. I rode it 8 times when I went.

5 Rating
0 Rating Rate Down Rate Up ChiDan1972 on 7/18/2004 8:58:00 PM
When you ride and go up the lift, just take a look at the layout of this ride. It looks incredible. It rides really smooth and there is plenty of airtime throught the ride. The dueling adds a nice touch.

4 Rating
0 Rating Rate Down Rate Up sk8erpunk4 on 7/17/2004 8:07:00 PM - User's Top Ride #18
I love this ride it is one of my favorite rides it is cool racing but also the seats are conforteble and it is fun.

5 Rating
0 Rating Rate Down Rate Up kwaymagu on 7/7/2004 4:08:00 PM - User's Top Ride #1
Visited Hershey yesterday & rode this 4 times. This is my favorite "woody". This has to be the most smoothest wooden coasters I have been on. All other wooden coasters bump & jump around, which tends to hurt my head a bit. I give it a 10 because there is hardly a wait for a unique and comfortable thrilling ride.

4 Rating
0 Rating Rate Down Rate Up KryptonKid on 7/2/2004 1:47:00 PM
This ride has to be one of the best wooden coasters in the world, let alone racing. It has the twists, turns, drops, and speed that I love. With me being a true Hyper steel fan, I have to say this is on my top ten for coasters. not too rough, yet not to smooth to upset true wooden fans out there. One pet peeve that I have is the building during the ride, where the trains go through together so close, you could talk to one another. But that is soooooooo loud!I had a headach! But this is a must ride! (Ride the Lightning side, I like it the best!)

5 Rating
0 Rating Rate Down Rate Up bigguy on 6/17/2004 8:03:00 AM - User's Top Ride #4
The best ride at hershey! I had high expectations for this ride but it passed my prior expectations. The day I went, the Thunder side always won. I tried Lightning all 6 of the times I went on and never won any of them. I liked that this wooden coaster was rickety and had lots of twists and turns, like on the first drop, which didnt just go straight down, it turned. Im a loyal Lightning guy. When you go to Hershey, try Lightning and win one for me.

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