Flamingoland is not a park I would have taken any notice of before this trip. However, I'm now better informed. It seems that one of the most successful coaster designers of all time was a German engineer called Anton Schwarzkopf, and two of his unique attractions can be found in a small park in Yorkshire. Apparently these rides are gradually being phased out due to their age, making it a real rarity that two different ones are still operational in the same park. So now you know!
The first of these rides was Bullet (#43), or to give it is original name, Wiener Looping. The course began with a powerful backwards launch out of the station and up a spike, which left enough potential energy for the train to make it through a vertical loop, round a few corners, and up a parallel spike. From there, riders repeated the whole experience in reverse. The layout was fiendishly intense, with the forces pinning me into the seat throughout. Half way through the course had me well on course to nominating a new favourite coaster when my restraints abruptly closed an additional notch. This left my shoulders taking the full weight of a heavy bar, and the strong forces didn't help. The net result was acute pain and no desire to ride this apparent masterpiece again.
Restraint design appears to have been quite a problem for Herr Schwarzkopf, as the original harnesses had been completely removed on Magnum Force (#44), formerly Dreier Looping. Instead, the trains had been fitted with an elaborate four point restraint system. On the positive side, this ensured riders security without any possibility of being hurt by the harnesses. On the negative side, each passenger took so long to secure that a train was going out every ten minutes or so, hardly ideal for a such a major attraction. Fortunately the wait proved well worth it; once again the ride was loaded with powerful forces, particularly as we traversed the three vertical loops.
A quick ride on Wild Mouse (#45) brought us to a rather hideous contraption by the name of Corkscrew (#46), a ride that felt very much like it was operating with square wheels. The cars started bouncing on the rails from the moment the train picked up any speed, to the point that the small child occupying the seat next to me started whinging loudly about how rough it was. There was certainly no good excuse for the ride to be this violent, especially when compared to Magnum Force.
We had two more coasters left to ride, quickly ticking off Dragon Coaster (#47) and Thunder Mountain (#48). The latter was my first experience of a normal roller coaster (thus excluding X:/No Way Out) operated completely indoors and in the dark. If it had been outdoors it would likely have been nothing special, but the pitch darkness made a relatively minor ride much more exciting, as it was impossible to see what was coming next.