GCI's first coaster goes for its last ride this weekend.] Coaster enthusiasts were hopeful that Wildcat would receive an RMC (Rocky Mountain Construction) makeover, and four months later their hopes were realized.Wildcat, Great Coasters International's first coaster, opened at Hersheypark in 2006 and became a popular attraction. As has been the case with innumerable wooden coasters, it became increasingly rough over time, and it went for its last ride in July of last year. [See
In November of 2022, Hersheypark announced the birth of Wildcat’s Revenge, a four-inversion hybrid coaster featuring 3,510 feet of RMC’s iconic I-Box track. On the day before the media preview, I drove around to make certain that I’d be able to locate the employee entrance the next day and discovered that the coaster is adjacent to it. What a gorgeous sight!
Located in the Midway America section of the park, Wildcat’s Revenge reaches a maximum speed of 62 mph and operates with three trains (only two were running during the media preview), accommodating 24 riders in six cars seating two across in two rows each. The restraint consists of a lap bar with shin guard plus seatbelt. For maximum efficiency there are separate areas for loading and unloading. The only thing which hasn’t changed is the long walk from the entrance to the loading station.
After dispatch, the train goes over some small dips, which I like to think of as hip hops, on a section of twisty track before ascending a 140- foot chain lift hill and hurtling down an 82-degree drop. It then goes up into what has been billed as the world’s largest underflip, basically a 270-degree roll. This is followed by an airtime hill and left-banked turn, which leads into a straightaway and zero-G stall. Curving right, the train traverses a couple of airtime hills before entering a zero-G roll. The course features nice banking throughout and includes a second zero-G roll. I was struck by the fact that Wildcat’s initial drop was preserved although it comes at a different point in the ride.
So how was the ride? In a word, wild! The intensity was relentless and the pacing was spot on. I enjoyed it from beginning to finish.
The fact that the ascent of the lift hill has a couple of jerky pauses (like Mystic Timbers at Kings Island and Wicker Man at Alton Towers) is a nice touch. I found the zero-G rolls more thrilling than the underflip. As to how Wildcat’s Revenge compares to other RMC makeovers, I would have to say that it’s not on quite the same level as Steel Vengeance or Iron Gwazi, mainly because the raw material simply wasn’t there.
However, it’s still a phenomenally good coaster and a great addition to Hersheypark. The RMC it most closely resembles structurally is Wicked Cyclone at Six Flags New England, but Wildcat’s Revenge is bigger and better. Darren Torr, CEO of RMC, was on hand and introduced himself to me, saying he’d like to hear what I thought of it, but I hadn’t yet had an opportunity to ride and never caught up with him later.
Kudos to the staff at Hersheypark for making this event possible. Wildcat's Revenge opens to the public on Friday, June 2.
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