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April 12, 2001

Nitro Delivers Power and Finesse at Great Adventure

Article written by:
Alex Bove, Contributing Writer

Six Flags Great Adventure debuted their 12th roller coaster yesterday, the third one designed by Bolliger & Mabilard.

Nitro First Drop
The 215-foot first drop on Nitro.

Nitro Bunny Hop
The bunny hills on Nitro are filled with airtime.

Jackson, NJ -- Two years ago, when Six Flags Great Adventure debuted the world's first floorless roller coaster (Bolliger & Mabillard's Medusa), the parks' general manager Bill Muirhead promised bigger things to come. April 11th he delivered on that promise when Great Adventure officially opened Nitro, the tallest coaster on the East Coast. Former WWF wrestler Mankind (a.k.a. Mick Foley) slid down the handle of a "detonator," a fireworks explosion erupted above the queue, and Nitro rolled eagerly out of the station. Members of the media and of various coaster clubs endured damp and unseasonably cold weather to ride Bolliger & Mabillard's (B&M) latest weapon in the roller coaster arms race.

In an industry that demands innovation, B&M have once again produced a design that is quite original. At 215 feet, Nitro's first drop is longer than those of B&M's other non-looping mega-coasters, but the coaster also features a number of new elements. The first drop leads into a transition hill featuring an overbanked left turn. Another large hill supplies the transition into a hammerhead, a steep 180-degree turnaround featuring steep banking at the top. Yet another airtime-filled hill leads into an S-curve and immediately into an intense double helix (B&M calls this a pair of "flat loops"). Then it's into the standard B&M brake run and onward into four bunny hops that provide plenty of air during the run home.

Nitro Riders
Four riders seated in the front row are ready to go.

Though the course is about a mile long, it seems incredibly compact. The rolling stock is akin to the trains on Raging Bull and Apollo's Chariot - four-abreast seating and simple lap bar restraints - and intensifies the coaster's impressive speed and intensity. But the coaster also has B&M's exquisite pacing and characteristic smoothness. As Mick Foley quipped, it's "exhilarating without being gut wrenching. All of the thrills with none of the injuries, unlike my wrestling career." Lin Weisenstein, a member of ACE who rode Nitro at least a dozen times during the event, described it as "magnificent. The most fantastic ride I've ever been on."

Nitro towers over the Movietown section of Great Adventure, making B&M's Batman The Ride look like a kiddie coaster. It's big, it's bright (fuchsia and yellow, with shiny blue supports), and it will surely draw riders from around the country to Jackson, NJ this summer. I'll be back to ride it as soon as my heart rate returns to normal.

Six Flags Great Adventure is now open for the season, but check their operating calendar for exact dates, since daily operation does not begin until May 17.

Nitro Opening Photos

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge images.

Nitro 1

Nitro 2

Nitro 3

Nitro 4

Nitro 5

Related Stories
Nitro Extreme Thrill Coaster to Blast Off In One Month March 13, 2001
Nitro Unveiled At Six Flags Great Adventure February 1, 2001

Photos courtesy of Alex Bove, copyright © 2001, all rights reserved.