Wacky Soap Box Racers has an interesting history since this four-track roller coaster actually started as the Motorcycle Chase. The four side-by-side tracks were designed to resemble the famous Coney Island "Steeplechase" coaster. Unfortunately, the original version was problematic, due to the fact that riders sat up too high on the vehicles, and therefore their center of gravity was off. After multiple injuries Knott's pulled the plug on the Motorcycle Chase.
With expensive, relatively new ride equipment now sitting unused, the park was in a tough situation. Fortunately, the family green lighted a redesign of the ride's vehicles and an entirely new theme from young designer Eddie Sotto for the farm's 60th anniversary. The concept for the new ride would use the existing track, but instead of motorcycles, riders would be seated in soap boxes that would take you through a living cartoon. The Wacky Soap Box Racers opened to huge crowds and become one of the park's most loved attractions and now one of the most missed ones too.
The roller coaster setup included four side-by-side tracks. Knott's routinely used two of the four tracks, opening the remaining two only on busy days. Individual vehicles seating up to six riders inline, sported a wood soap box racer theme. Each was named and decorated with rubber tires, miscellaneous junk and a Mrs. Knott's pie tin.
Wacky Soap Box Racers ride experience included animatronic characters, audio, billboards, facades, and several encounters with breakaway doors. The double out and back layout included two chain lift hills, an enclosed tunnel before the second lift and an enclosed finale.
The concept of the ride is a race and began with a vehicle on each track in the starting position. Riders were to compete against each other until the finish line and Knott's claimed that by shifting your weight together you could speed up your soap box. It's doubtful that was true.
Racers passed by a grandstand full of cartoon characters with an announcer's voice giving a running commentary on who's in the lead. Then you were misted as you passed by a billboard advertising California's "Sun 'n Surf" to crash into the first of the breakthrough walls. The next section named "Cat Nip Junction" was a town of feline-oriented business that include the Manx Theatre showing the movie "Catsablanca", Bob Katz' garage and then racers jumped through a cat's mouth into a subterranean section featuring the junction's tangled system of water pipes and electrical lines with a large cloud of steam escaping.
Escaping the mess, racers enter the finale – "Seamour Dud's exploding Fireworks Factory" – complete with audio and visual effects to simulate exploding fireworks and rockets, before emerging from the mayhem through yet another breakthrough wall.
|1976||Steel||Quad Steeplechase Racer||Arrow Development|
Features: Four separate tracks
1996 – Final year of operation
1980 – Cycle Chase re-named and re-themed. The speed of the ride was reduced from 40 mph to 30 mph.
Individual car has one row each, seating five inline per row.
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