Six Flags Great America announced this morning that they will be building a record-breaking wooden coaster this winter. The coaster, named Goliath, is set to open next season and it will be the tallest, steepest, and fastest wooden roller coaster in the world, according to park officials. The wooden coaster includes 2 tunnels, a dive loop, multiple over banked turns, an inverted zero-g turn, an over banked top hat and multiple airtime hills.
The new coaster will stand 165 feet tall and it will first pull riders up a steep 45 degree lift hill and then plunge them 85 degrees down a 180 foot drop into the first of two tunnels. The riders will hit 72 mph as they enter the 15 foot-deep tunnel. From there, the ride will feature an overbanked U-turn followed by an airtime hill and into a “twist n’ dive” inversion. In the twist n’ dive inversion, the coaster performs a 180 degree zero gravity roll and then goes into a vertical loop.
The coasters final, and perhaps greatest trick, will what the makers are calling an “Inverted Zero-G Stall.” This maneuver will pull riders upside-down over a lift hill and then roll upright right as the coaster enters the second tunnel.
The coaster will top out at 72 mph, beating the previous wooden coaster speed record that was set at 68 mph. The coaster will have a track length of 3100 feet, making it the same length as X-Flight and the Whizzer, but at speeds up to 72 mph, it will burn through the track quickly, making for a short yet intense ride. It will also feature a lap bar restraint system, unlike the over-the-shoulder harnesses typically found on inversion coasters.
Inversions, or going upside-down, are pretty rare on wooden roller coasters due to the stress this causes to the structure and the strain it can put on riders. Due to new technology, which reduces the stress on riders, wooden coasters featuring inversions started popping up just this year. This year Mt. Olympus in the Wisconsin Dells made news by adding an inversion to their Hades coaster and renaming it Hades 360. Silver Dollar City in Branson is also home to a new wooden coaster with inversions named “Outlaw Run.”
This is a pretty unique coaster and is an excellent follow-up to X-Flight which debuted in 2012. X-flight was one of the first winged coasters built in the United States and gives riders a sensation of flying over an airfield, fitting the coasters hanger and airplane theme.
The coaster is being made by Rocky Mountain Construction and will be built on the site formerly occupied by Iron Wolf. Iron Wolf has been moved to the chain’s park in Maryland and is currently operating under the name “Apocalypse.”
While the coaster is great news for the break and promises to be a breath-taking experience, there is already some controversy over the name “Goliath.” Six Flags already has five other coasters that have been named Goliath, and while this one is the first wooden coaster to share this name, it still lacks the originality and excellent theming seen by other rides at this park. It has been suggested that the ride be renamed “Timber Wolf” to pay homage to its predecessor, but the park has made no comments regarding a possible name change.