Premier Parks & Rides
18-21st May 2000
Andreas and Mechthild Namyslo
For us, this fantastic trip started on Friday morning at 05:00. Very early for someone who loves sleeping, but the visit to the Vekoma factory was reason enough to wake up! I arrived at the testing area and was deeply impressed by the new “Hammerhead Stall.” It was a real shame that we could not ride it. It was very interesting to see the factory – what was mostly astonishing was the fact that most of the work is done without any computers. Just remember those crosses on the floor! It is unbelievable how it works.
After the visit I had to return to my hometown Münster. I was a little bit sad about that because I heard that there would be an ERS on the Robin Hood woodie in the evening, but I had to go home because my wife Mechthild also wanted to go to SFH, but unfortunately she had to work on Friday. So we started to SFH on Saturday morning – again at 5.00am! But when we heard that there would be another ERS on Robin Hood that evening, even the rain could not destroy the great time we had during the day! The park is not very big, but it offers enough great possibilities to spend your time. We tried three times to ride El Condor (SLC), but each time when we had waited for half an hour, it was closed! It was a shame but because of this we have got a reason to come back to SFH.
In the evening – after the joyful ERS on Robin Hood (a very good try – Vekoma!) we returned to Münster, wishing to follow all those friendly Club members to Belgium, but that was not possible. We are looking forward to our next Club meeting. Maybe next time from the very beginning. So again a very big thank you to Justin and all the others who helped to organise this trip. It is always a great pleasure.
The recent Premier Parks and Ride tour could easily have been called the Vekoma Appreciation Tour. As well as a visit to the test site for a sneaky peak at the new Hammerhead Stall, and a very impressive factory tour, no less than eight of the nine major coasters on the trip were Vekoma rides.
Without a doubt, the quality of the rides coming from Vekoma is vastly improving, as this tour showed. Taking a ride on the El Condor (the first SLC) at Six Flags or the Tornado (a standard Corkscrew) at Wavre, provided the long endured ear bashing experience that one expects from a Vekoma. But these rides are the old school.
Fresh Graduates from Vekoma include the utterly amazing Robin Hood woodie. Fast, full of air-time, well paced, great trains, beautifully set, etc. I can’t praise this ride enough. So – should Vekoma just stick to wood, and forget the steel? No. Superman – The Ride was just as thrilling with its stunning launch, glorious first two inversions and a twisted layout. So okay, the corkscrew may be a tad shaky, but after six rides, my head did not touch the restraint once. Impressive, to say the least. With Hammerhead and the Tilt Coaster just around the corner, the future looks bright.
So a big thank you to Mark, Chris, James, Justin and Liz for another superb trip. Everything seemed to go without a hitch!
We do like to try and be different when it comes to trips – whether that means going places no one has gone before, or having surprise parks. When we started working on a trip to Six Flags Holland, we also wanted to include Walibi Wavre (soon to be Six Flags Belgium). Chris McFarlane suggested that a good third park might be Bellewaerde. All the parks were owned by “Premier Parks” – hence the trip’s name.
We also added a trip to the main Vekoma factory in the Netherlands, and also visited their factory / test ground in Belgium, where we knew they had the Hammerhead Stall built up.
It was the first time the park’s new PR department had had to deal with a group like us, and to be frank, they had no idea! Liz Hall and I had to sit down with them the night before the main day to finalise arrangements. It was pretty nerve-wracking, but we got it done, and I am sure no one realised on the day that it had all been sorted out the night before!