Twenty years ago Thorpe Park broke records with the installation of Colossus, an Intamin roller coaster with ten inversions. The design, though completely new to European audiences, was an extension of an earlier eight inversion product that had seen three installations between 1998 and 2002. It featured a loop, a cobra roll, two corkscrews, and five heart-line rolls – four placed end-to-end.
Following the first two examples an upgraded “B” model was developed, with the initial customer being Brazil-based Hopi Hari. The ride was fabricated and shipped to São Paulo, but construction never began as the park ran into financial trouble in the aftermath of a fatal accident on their drop tower. The pieces sat in storage for almost six years before being sold on to Movie Animation Park Studios in Malaysia, where once again financial issues precluded installation. Shortly before that park’s bankruptcy the coaster was sold again for the equivalent of £2.2 million sterling. Fast forward to 2019, when Flamingo Land announced their “new £18 million attraction”. Ahem.
Construction on the not-quite-so-new ride began in October of that year, and was largely complete by the middle of 2020. A major new attraction was never likely to open in the middle of a pandemic, yet the radio silence continued into 2021 as the world began to return to normal. It wasn’t until June 2022 when the first test runs were completed, suggesting that technical problems may have arisen during the build. When it opened to the public a month later it did so with a single train, despite the presence of a transfer track; it’s unclear as of this writing what (if anything) happened to the second train that it would have been supplied with.
Today the ride known as Sik (#3034) wasn’t ready to open with the park, though the delay wasn’t too bad; the first train boarded at 10:20am. I took my seat for my one and only lap at 11:00am, ending up in the rear of car six. From that location the experience was about what I expected; a solid and respectable first half of a coaster, followed by the heart-line roll sequence that is probably best described as an acquired taste. The ride comfort level was fine, aided considerably by the lap bar restraints, though it’d be remiss of me not to record some definite vibration which is a bit worrying for a ride that has only been open for a month. The ride is an enormous upgrade over its southern brother, and a worthy addition to the park, even if it's not the sort of thing I would choose to marathon.
My second stop was the Runaway Mine Train, now in its fifth different location – three of which have been inside the gates of Flamingo Land. First-generation Zamperla 80STDs are not enormously comfortable at the best of times, and it’s fair to say that this one felt like the pieces might not have been put together correctly.
By the time I disembarked every operating coaster had a queue of at least an hour, and I decided upon reflection that there was nothing in the roster that I cared about enough to justify that length of wait. At the risk of coming across as a jaded (and self-entitled) enthusiast, the coaster collection at Flamingo Land is a definite case of quantity over quality. A custom-layout wood coaster was rumoured for the park during the noughties; it’s a genuine shame that it never got built.