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Arthur Levine

California’s Great America Gives New Coaster the Shaft

By March 28, 2013

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As I wrote a couple of days ago, there's plenty of anticipation for the three inverting roller coasters debuting this season. Getting a bit lost in the shuffle, however, has been Gold Striker, a more traditional woodie that will be opening at California's Great America. The park recently announced a new element that should add some pizzazz to the old-school ride. It will feature a tunnel that will envelop riders as they plummet down the first drop.

Tunnels on coasters are fairly common. For example, all three of the wonderful woodies at Holiday World include them as do The Beast at King's Island and Wooden Warrior at Quassy Amusement Park. According to California's Great America, the new coaster's 174-foot tunnel will be the "world's longest covered initial descent tunnel on a wooden coaster." (There are a lot of qualifiers in that claim, but it certainly sounds thrilling.) The tunnel will include a corrugated metal roof and will be completely enclosed with in-fill under the tracks. The park is promising a near lights-out experience as the coaster revs up to 54 mph. Befitting its 49ers theme (the prospectors, not the football team), the tunnel will evoke a mine shaft.

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