I'd originally planned to visit Bayern Park on the third weekend in July, but that entire weekend had to be written off after Aer Lingus cancelled my flight. Though I wasn't entirely enthusiastic about it at the time, given the unnecessary trip to the airport at five in the morning, the abrupt cancellation brought with it two unexpected benefits. First, the new coaster at Bayern Park didn't open until the end of August; second, the cost of a round trip journey to Munich in mid-October was about a third of what it had been in the earlier part of the season.
An early arrival at Munich, followed by a two and a half minute car rental process at Avis, meant that I made it to the park almost ninety minutes earlier than expected. I'd been trying to figure out why the parks in southern Germany close for the season in early October and the reason became apparent as I stepped out of the car; it was baltic out, with the mercury sitting at just 5°C, and the empty park showed that the local families were staying away.
The lack of people allowed me to have my own private exclusive ride session on the brand new coaster. Freischütz (#1699) is a five-inversion launched ride that suffered major delays in its construction, to the point that it wasn't at all clear that it would open this season. The park managed to get the ride operational on the third weekend of August, albeit without any theming. The revised plan is to complete construction work in the off-season, following the broad plot line of the well known opera by Weber. Though the ride has been open less than two months it has already developed a distinct rattle in places, but most of the knocks are absorbed by the comfortable lap bar. Maurer Söhne appear to have finally sorted out the issues with this restraint design tightening itself mid-course, allowing passengers to relax and enjoy the sensations without risking an inadvertent stapling.
The track length is relatively short, and it perhaps for this reason that the train is launched through two full circuits, giving ten inversions in a very short space of time. As a seasoned enthusiast I'd like to think that I've a stronger constitution for inverting than much of the general public, but the well known ten inversion coasters stretch my tolerance to breaking point. There were no such issues with Freischütz, though riding four times in the space of ten minutes (for 40 inversions!) did leave me feeling just a tiny bit queasy!
The ride is far from perfect; bumpy track work on a brand new coaster is hard to forgive in this day and age. Nevertheless, it is thrilling, and the launch and inversions are not available on any other coasters in this part of Germany. I caught quick laps on my two missing credits, Froschbahn (#1700) and Star-Shuttle (#1701), before heading back to my car.