TR: Funland, Hayling Island
The misty rain hadn’t stopped for 24 hours. Tornado, the KMG Freakout, had been taunting me all day, trying to attract customers with its flashing lights. It had taunted me ever since 2004 when I could only look on at the closed park before I had to catch a ferry. Today though, I had 30 minutes to get in as much riding as I could.
I entered the deserted park and did my reconnaissance. Nothing was running. Walking up to the ticket booth, I asked whether the roller coaster was operational (it was) and handed over £4. I wish I could have given them more, but time was limited.
Klondike is a Pinfari ZL42 from Drayton Manor. This model was my first looping coaster, at Great Yarmouth in 1992, which I assume is the one at Brighton or Southport. I had not ridden this exact installation.
Most of the theming has been kept, and the entrance is down a short but dark tunnel. The coaster could not run without at least three people, and so two girls were invited to ride. I chose the front seat (left-hand side as the restraint was down on the right) and pulled down the thin, hard OTSR.
Just like the Great Yarmouth one of old, the loading station is on the width of the ride (the unloading station is on the length). We turned a corner and ascended the lift hill. A turn at the top leads into a good drop through a tunnel. Rising out, there was some surprising front seat air.
I didn’t really notice the 2nd drop or the small, swift loop. The rise and transition into the helix, though, was incredibly rough, launching me to the side. We spiralled down through the helix, much of which is enclosed in a tunnel. Thus ended by far the roughest coaster I’ve ever ridden. I’d like to say it was a good coaster, but my neck has been in pain ever since.
Taking pride of place in the centre of the park is the aptly-named Tornado (or, to be more accurate, Tornado 2). I waited and soon an operator came over to ask if I wanted to ride. It was at this point that I met a friendly bloke who also came to ride. (“You didn’t think you’d be allowed to ride this alone, did you?”) He was a fan of the ride and I got the impression he was a friend of the park.
We sat opposite and the ride began to swing, through the A-frame, not in line with it (remember, it’s a Freakout, not an Afterburner!) “Think this is the ride? You ain’t seen nothing yet!” the man said. He was right.
We swung higher, and this is where the ride is at its best: when you’re swinging high, but clearly facing forward, like a pirate ship. The ride then swung higher and spun faster, and I was in the middle of truly cyclonic forces.
Tornado was near-flawless. If I was invited to nitpick, I’d say the ride is better before the spin achieves top speed. It’s not at all uncomfortable; you just get better airtime and a better sense of orientation before that. Furthermore, like all Afterburners, I think it would be better if it swung no steeper than 90-degrees. The park was so devoid of paying customers, I didn’t actually see Tornado operate, or therefore how high it swung, but it felt like approximately 120-degrees.
I’ve finally achieved my ambition and ridden all three main types of Afterburner. The 16-seat is much better than the 32-. It’s not noticeably better than the 24-, but not noticeably inferior either. Thankfully, none of them are as intense as the Huss Frisbee! If I was forced, I’d say I enjoyed the 24-seat at Pleasurewood Hills more than the others, but it might just have been the time and the place. Tornado certainly fits Funland like a glove.
The operator asked me if I enjoyed the ride. I said yes, and that I’ve ridden the one at Thorpe Park too. He asked me how they compared. I told him, quite truthfully, that his was much better. (Good job I didn’t compare Nemesis Inferno to Klondike!)
The park staff began pulling rain covers over the Break Dance (which is near the Drop Tower from the Trocadero), and it was time to go.
I crunched across the stony beach (shame it wasn’t sand, as I would have drawn a line in it). I looked across to the Isle of Wight and (ironically) Ryde, then I looked west to Portsmouth and the Spinnaker tower. Then the chill in the air forced me to call it a day.
Unfortunately, the whole thing was coloured by how rough Klondike was. I couldn’t turn my head to the right for approximately 24 hours afterwards; I couldn’t sleep on my left-hand side that night; and my neck still hurts somewhat. I endorse Funland – just don’t ride Klondike (or any ZL42)!
A wonderful report as always. A joy to read and I hope your neck mends soon!
The Pleasurewood Hills Afterburner is also my favourite. It's airtime is sublime. I have also ridden the Thorpe one and one at a large travelling fair several years ago. The Thorpe one made me feel a bit sick but the fair one didn't and it had a great atmosphere. It played the intro of Star Wars that led into a famous classical piece, which I think was from The Blue Danube. Dry ice was also used at the start. I certainly felt I got my money's worth.
I've never actually ridden that coaster yet, and I've hung out at that beach quite a few times. Great report man.
Graeme, sorry it's taken so long to reply. So was it as rough (the Pinafri) as it was when you were younger? So I have to ask, what's the difference with the 24 seat Afterburners compared to the 32 and 16?
Great TR and pics as usual!
An honest well written and atmospheric TR Graeme.
I got back late last night from a very cold DLP hence I would have replied earlier.
I love the park at Hayling, probably because it's where my late dad spent his childhood (He often recounted many a tale) and where my sister lived in the years before she emigrated - My family and I visited the park several times in the last few years.
Klondike was just about to be introduced the last time we were there.
Pity about its roughness, the Pinfari (?) that was there before it was great barring the trims at the end.
There was a new Drop Tower (Was it built the wrong way round or did I dream this?)
There was a rather wet log Flume and a Helter Skelter if I recall.
I hope this park survives and I hope you keep writing the TRs - as I do all posters here on URC - They make fantastic reading.
Amazing TR as always, you have a knack for painting a really graphic description, i really do feel like i'm there
> Thus ended by far the roughest coaster I’ve ever
> ridden. I’d like to say it was a good coaster, but my
> neck has been in pain ever since.
That is a shame when it was at DMP there was some jarring but it wasn't uncomfortable
> Tornado was near-flawless. If I was invited to nitpick,
> I’d say the ride is better before the spin achieves top
> speed. It’s not at all uncomfortable; you just get better
> airtime and a better sense of orientation before that.
Definately this is why i prefer the 16 seat, the Zamperla afterburner at Liseberg runs very similiar to that which is perfect for a spinning wuss like myself i also find the seats and restraints more accommodating and comfortable than KMG's rigid planks of doom
> The park staff began pulling rain covers over the Break
> Dance (which is near the Drop Tower from the Trocadero),
> and it was time to go.
Would you have ridden the drop tower if it'd had been open? :P
Thanks everyone, you're very kind.
> A wonderful report as always. A joy to read and I hope your
> neck mends soon!
Yes, it's mostly better today, thanks!
> I've never actually ridden that coaster yet, and I've hung
> out at that beach quite a few times. Great report man.
Hope I've given you enough warning now! ;)
> Graeme, sorry it's taken so long to reply. So was it as
> rough (the Pinafri) as it was when you were younger?
Yes, it's much worse now. 16 years ago, I only remember it vibrating, but nothing more. I should say, I believe this is a physically different coaster (got a feeling Great Yarmouth's ZL42 is now Brighton's or Southport's), but it's the same model.
> So I
> have to ask, what's the difference with the 24 seat
> Afterburners compared to the 32 and 16?
> Great TR and pics as usual!
Imagine the frame as an "A". The 24- and 32-seat rides are Afterburners, and swing side to side (left to right) through the "A". The 16-seat ride is a Freakout, and that swings through the middle of the "A" (ie. towards you as you read this).
I suppose it's a smaller ride in general, but it seems to swing just as high.
> Pity about its roughness, the Pinfari (?) that was there
> before it was great barring the trims at the end.
Yes, a Z40 I think.
> There was a new Drop Tower (Was it built the wrong way
> round or did I dream this?)
That rings a bell. Wasn't something to do with the seats facing such a way that any screams would be heard by residents? As it is, it seems to face east, not directly out to sea, as such (which would presumably be south).
> There was a rather wet log Flume and a Helter Skelter if I
The funny thing is, I didn't even have enough time to have a good look round the park and see what the rides were. I've had to look at the website to know what ride they were putting the rain covers on!
It did seem a good park though, with enough corners to tuck loads of great rides - just as a seaside park should be! :)
> That is a shame when it was at DMP there was some jarring
> but it wasn't uncomfortable
Perhaps it was because it had been raining so much? It has made me very wary of riding OTSR Pinfaris, and old looping coasters in general.
> Definately this is why i prefer the 16 seat, the Zamperla
> afterburner at Liseberg runs very similiar to that which is
> perfect for a spinning wuss like myself i also find the
> seats and restraints more accommodating and comfortable
> than KMG's rigid planks of doom
Yes indeed! Am I right in thinking the Zamperla is 5-sided (20 seats)?
> Would you have ridden the drop tower if it'd had been open?
An honest, unashamed "no"! ;) Mind you, I don't think it's as tall as I thought - similar to a Fabbri, I'd say.
EDIT - I'm sure it was open! You had to ask them to operate anything you wanted to ride! :)
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