'Rush' Launches At Thorpe Park

For their latest addition, Thorpe Park has gone back to the basics of the playground and opened Rush – the largest swing in the world. With ride video

Written by Ben Mills
Published: May 28, 2005 at 10:43 AM

My grandmother has never really understood the detailed logistics of the theme park world. And while the average theme park visitor probably couldn’t tell you the difference between an Intamin Steel Mega Coaster and an Arrow 4th Dimension, to my grandmother, it’s all “swings and roundabouts”.

For their latest addition, Thorpe Park has built just that, and gone back to the basics of the playground -- Rush, as they proudly tell us, is the largest swing in the world.

The structure of Rush looms high over the Lost City area of the park.

Constructed by S&S Power, Rush is a first-of-its-kind: a 32 passenger Screamin’ Swing. Unlike Slammer - Thorpe’s other new ride of the season, that opened in March – it’s incredibly easy to describe Rush. It really is just a very, very big swing.

There are two ‘swings’, both attached to the main frame. Each one of these seats sixteen people, with eight on either side. Restraints come in the form of a chunky, moulded lap bar, which is surprisingly loose. Don’t expect to see anyone falling out of these, but neither is it the best ride to try to get maximum airtime on, if you value your life.

Once you’ve dropped your bag off and strapped yourself in, it’s time to begin. The hydraulics system kicks in, and with a powerful ‘whoosh’, you’re launched forward or back, depending on which side you’re seated on. Gradually, you get higher and higher, until things start to seem a little upside-down…

So, you’re wondering, what does the ride feel like? Well, Thorpe’s comparisons are again accurate; it really does feel like a huge swing. I found that the airtime was lacking compared to other rides in the area – Vortex, ironically, provides a far greater ‘rush’ than this, while going through somewhat similar motions.

Rush only really satisfies its hype as a white-knuckle experience when it reaches the 120-degree point. Unfortunately, with the duration of the ride being an incredibly short time, you’ll only get there once or twice. This could be the case to keep guest throughput as high as possible, and cope with the inevitably long queues, but this remains to be seen.

More likely is the inclusion of Rush in Thorpe Park as a way to provide younger thrill seekers with something to get them used to the sort of thrills that await them on the bigger kids’ flat rides, such as Slammer and Vortex. From a business perspective, this is probably a good idea.

But from the point of view of someone used to the more extreme rides, Rush remains just that – a kid’s ride. That’s not to say you won’t enjoy it; it certainly has a kick to itself, and affords some incredible views over the park and Thorpe Lake, albeit at 40 mph. However, once the novelty has worn off, don’t expect the queue times to keep up to the current lengths.

Rush, in its natural habitat.
(From left to right: Colossus, X:/ No Way Out, Vortex, and Rush)

Overall, I’m going to have to give Rush a 6-Fair. While it certainly looks impressive from the ground, and uses comfortable, loose seating, it really doesn’t bring anything new to the playground, and the current ride program is just way too short. However, it should be useful having another ‘support ride’ in the park, because when the park unleashes next year’s monster, the crowds are gonna be pretty insane.

Video: Rush at Thorpe Park

Readers' Opinions

From Grant Duvall on May 28, 2005 at 8:28 PM
They wouldn't happen to play 2112 overture when you're on it now would they?
From Ben Mills on May 29, 2005 at 1:34 AM
Nope. At the moment, it's a bunch of hilariously cheesy 80s music, like The Final Countdown and Video Killed The Radio Star.
From Jason Lester on May 29, 2005 at 11:48 AM
It fits nice into the whole atmosphere of Lost City's carnival style rides.

Knott's Berry Farm opened a smaller one for Halloween Haunt, but you actually had to pay to ride it.

From Grant Duvall on May 30, 2005 at 8:19 PM
That stinks....some songs by Geddy Lee such as tom sawyer and fly by night and spirit of the radio would definately be in line.
From Philip Curds on October 23, 2005 at 11:08 AM
Look out for Thorpe Park next year, with the launch (pardon the pun) of Europe's latest launch coaster (ala Top Thrill Dragster) albeit on a smaller scale. Rush is a good addition to the park, although I tend to think everytime I visit Thorpe Park that Chessington has lost out on a load of ride updates to Thorpe. Perhaps, the decision to allow Tussauds to purchase Thorpe Park whilst owning Chessington outside London may have been a bit of a bad idea from a competitive standpoint. Nonetheless, Alton Towers, Eftling, Disney Paris and Drayton Manor are all several hours drive away (depending on the Channel Tunnel connections and congestion, you decide to take). Does anyone know what their doing with Six Flags Astroworld's 'Swat' ride (same type of attraction as Rush) when the Houston, USA park closes? Might become the latest attraction at Alton Towers knowing Tussauds legendary cost-cutting attraction installations. Which by the way is no bad thing for all of those Astroworld Houston employees who are losing their jobs when their park closes. Thank god for Dubai money hey, Tussauds (check Tussauds accounts to see their latest shareholders, Dubai Holdings Group, who incidentally are opening a collosal attraction in a few years time in Dubai, no doubt aiming to draw on the talents at Tussauds (John Wardley) to help them realise their Disneyworld-topping goals!)

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