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Busch Gardens makes official: SheiKra to go floorless

2007-01-30

By Robert Niles: The announcement will come in a conference all at 10:30 Wednesday morning, but that's 7:30 a.m. L.A. time, and I'll be rushing to get the kids off to school then. So I'll jump the gun on news many of us already know about anyway.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will announce tomorrow that its B&M Dive coaster SheiKra will become a B&M floorless dive coaster later this year.

Don't know the exact date yet, but I assume that the change on the SheiKra trains will come sometime after sister park Busch Gardens Europe debuts its B&M floorless dive coaster, Griffon, in May. That way, Griffon can retain the title as "world's first" of this model.

[FWIW, all the promotional material I've gotten from Busch on this announcement has been branded "Busch Gardens Tampa Bay," and not "Busch Gardens Africa." But the stuff I've been getting from Williamsburg has been using the new, continental name, "Busch Gardens Europe." Just noticed that. Is something up with this, or is BGT/A (wow, what an acronym *there*) just burning through old letterhead?]

Readers' Opinions

From Chris Walton on January 30, 2007 at 11:57 PM
Good...this should make it an even closer match to Griffon!
From Iris Hernandez on January 31, 2007 at 8:28 AM
good lord...that ride scared the crap out of me in its original form. Its going to ROCK when they make the change. I cant imgine why they would make that type of change when the ride is only about to turn what 3 years old? or is it 2? But, for me, killer idea. Its gonna make them some serious amounts of money. OOOOoooo...it gives me the chills just to think about the potential scare factor!
From Robert Niles on January 31, 2007 at 10:43 AM
From what I understand, this was the original concept, but that they went with the non-floorless cars to get the ride open earlier. But the design was made so that the switch to floorless could be made easily (well, relatively easily) at a later date.
From Eric Malone on January 31, 2007 at 2:41 PM
All I can say is.. wow.
From Roy Taylor on January 31, 2007 at 8:39 PM
That is great; but when will they ever open SoB!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
From Adrienne McDonald on February 1, 2007 at 1:11 PM
I think it's a bit stupid them doing this, what's the point of riding Shiekra now if it's not going to be any different than Griffon? They should leave it as is, that way both parks will offer something different from ea other rather than having virtually the same ride. Geez, I hope it's not going to be another 'six flags' thing w/having the same coasters not to mention all the boomerang or Vekoma clones in those & other parks. There's really no reason other than the animal park for me to visit BG Florida now.
From Russell Meyer on February 1, 2007 at 4:15 PM
SheiKra and Griffon have completely different layouts. Not only that, but SheiKra's trains will STILL be only 8-people across, meaning that Griffon's outer-most seats will still give the most unobstructed view on ANY coaster in the world.

The change is brilliant, since it gives an all new experience to a 2-year old ride.

From Adrienne McDonald on February 1, 2007 at 10:30 PM
Well if the layouts are different, they really looked similar to me so pardon me if I
mis-spoke, and if they're going to make it floorless, then does that require new cars, if so, wonder why they don't just make it 10 across too or will they just remove the bottoms? Can they even do that?
From Ashley Stuchlik on February 2, 2007 at 11:15 AM
Yes, the layouts are different between Sheikra and Griffon. Sheikra was designed to have 8 riders per row. Adding an extra person to each end could cause problems such as those people would now be coming too close to support beams and the extra weight of 6 additional people per car could cause the ride to have a greater speed and intensity than it was originally designed to have. I personally am excited to see the modifications as I can only get up to Williamsburg once a year, if that, and I go to Tampa just about every weekend. Another good job to Busch Gardens!
From Larry Zimmerman on February 2, 2007 at 1:54 PM
Yeah, floorless cars will up the "OMG!" factor considerably. I might actually "chicken out" of the floorless model - NOT.

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