August 11, 1999
Hershey, PA -- Hersheypark, the 110 acre world class theme park that is home to seven thrilling roller coasters, will be adding number eight in the year 2000-- the first Wooden Racing/Dueling Roller Coaster in the United States-- Lightning Racer. The incredible two track coaster is designed and built by Great Coasters International; the same company who brought The Wildcat, voted the #1 wooden roller coaster in the United States by Popular Mechanics Magazine in 1998, to Hersheypark.
The new coaster is a hybrid blending elements of a cyclone coaster, like The Wilcat, with elements of an out and back coaster, like The Comet, a Hersheypark favorite since its opening in 1946. We are thrilled to be working with Great Coasters International again, said Franklin R. Shearer, senior vice president and general manager, Hersheypark. Lightning Racer is world class, one of a kind just like Hersheypark!
The first racing/dueling coaster in the United States, Lightning Racer is a double track wooden roller coaster with two staggered lifts, approximately 90 feet for each lift. Each track is approximately 3,400 feet of Southern Yellow Pine and includes fifteen drops. As riders enter the station, they will be able to choose which train they want to ride- enabling them to race with or against their friends and family at speeds exceeding 51 mph and gravitational forces in excess of 3.6 g.
The 24 passenger Millennium Flyer trains will begin the ride simultaneously, but seconds into the ride the trains will begin their race careening through high speed turns with banked angles in excess of 60 degrees. The two track race side by side and then curve to face each other, creating a duel. Just as the riders come face-to-face with the opposing train, the tracks split, in a near-miss.
The tracks enter a dueling syphon drop where the two trains are sucked within a mere few feet of each other. The trains will then encounter sideswipe alley and two diabolical and dueling turns where they pass each other with a combined speed in excess of 70 mph.
As the trains race toward their finish line, they speed toward a rushing waterfall; the tracks swerve and the riders avoid being drenched, but are misted from the cooling waters. The trains then race against each other back into the station. At the conclusion of the 2 minute 20 second ride, the winning train is declared, the passengers greet their rivals, and disembark.
Lightning Racer joins The Wild Mouse, Great Bear, The Wildcat, The Sidewinder, The Trailblazer, sooperdooperLooper, and The Comet to make Hersheypark home to more roller coasters than any other park in the state of Pennsylvania.
Hersheypark, built in 1907 by Milton S. Hershey as a picnic and pleasure grounds for his employees, has grown into a world class theme park with more than 65 rides and attractions. Hersheypark will debut Lightning Racer for its 94th season, opening in May 2000.