I have to admit to a fair amount of bias regarding this ride as I worked on it for three years and it was certainly my favourite place to be every day. Stealth was built in 2006 and remains the most popular ride at Thorpe Park despite the arrival of Saw the Ride and the Swarm. The 205ft structure is visible from miles away and I still look up whenever I pass it.
Stealth is an Intamin launch coaster which originally accelerated riders from 0 to 80mph in 2.3 seconds but following modifications this time has been reduced to 1.8 seconds. It is the fastest accelerating coaster in Europe and for those who are not able to travel to America it is the only way to experience the sort of drama you get with Top Thrill Dragster and Kingda Ka.
14 Thrilling Seconds
Following the intense launch the trains then climb and pass over the 205ft tower before free falling down the other side, traversing a bunny hop and hitting the brake course. The main attraction of the ride is undoubtedly the intensity of the launch which is severe enough to relieve people of their jewels and is the cause of much trepidation for first time riders. The chief drawback for those who have queued for a lengthy period is the duration of the cycle which is a mere 14 seconds from launch to brakes.
A ride on Stealth is all over rather quickly but the attraction is about more than those few precious seconds. There is a great vibe at Stealth with the racing theme and 50’s rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack and during peak times there are often bands playing live in the plaza or a DJ on site to vamp up the atmosphere. The ride has also seen many silent discos with guests being issued with headphones in order to listen to music whilst in the queue line.
Strong head winds or mechanical issues with the launch can leave the train without enough momentum to reach the top of the tower. The train will then climb the tower only to roll backwards towards the station. A series of brakes then halts the train on the launch track. Some guests beg for a roll back others are terrified by the prospect. They don’t actually happen that often but are a great talking point when they do. Sadly Stealth does frequently suffer from other technical issues leading to numerous shut downs especially on busy days when the ride is really worked hard.
I loved working on Stealth as there was a level of excitement that you just didn’t get at the other ride in the park and an uplifting atmosphere that was always enjoyed by guests and staff alike. Fright Nights brought another dimension to the attraction with the opportunity to ride in the dark and it was the one coaster in the park that I never tired of despite the fact that I was lucky enough to ride it several times every week.
Article by Sally Stacey