California (coaster) car culture
Review of West Coast Racers at Six Flags Magic Mountain
3.75 (out of 5)
With the 100-mph Superman: Escape from Krypton and the superb Full Throttle, Six Flags Magic Mountain includes launched coasters among its record-setting arsenal of 20 thrill machines. And with Twisted Colossus, which is among my very favorite coasters, the park also offers a racing/dueling ride. West Coast Racers, however, combines the two features into one coaster. It delivers four LSM magnetic launches/boosts that rev up its trains for a side-by-side racing face-off that is the coaster’s theme. It’s right there in the name.
While it is a fine attraction, West Coast Racers doesn’t match the sheer exhilaration of Full Throttle (or Superman, when it is running), nor the glorious airtime or elegance of the RMC masterpiece, Twisted Colossus. With a height of 67 feet and a top speed of 55 mph, it’s really more akin to a family coaster than a true extreme thrill ride (despite its four inversions).
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Opened when the pandemic was still raging in 2020, the ride is the focal point of the park’s new land, The Underground. Posters hawking taco trucks, breakdance festivals, and the like along with pulsing music attempt to give the area an urban vibe. There are sweet-looking, tricked-out cars on display in front of a West Coast Customs storefront. Famous for its celebrity clients and its reality shows, the car customization shop serves as the inspiration for the coaster.
To get to the ride, passengers enter the faux shop and walk up to the dispatch station. The loading process, at least on the day that I visited, was painfully slow. The ride ops didn’t seem to be in any particular hurry, nor were they concerned about filling every available seat. (Grrr.) Each train only holds 12 passengers, so the line does not move quickly even with an efficient crew. There are three trains so that two can be racing, while one is loading in the station.
Three trains? You’re probably wondering why there aren’t four of them so that two could be loading, while two duke it out on the course. Like Twisted Colossus (and unlike its predecessor, the twin-tracked Colossus), West Coast Racers is a single-track, Mobius-style coaster. That is, while the two trains appear to be on largely parallel, separate tracks, they actually are on one long, continuous track. Some Mobius coasters, such as Racer at Kennywood, load two trains in the station, which each travel one half of the track and end up back on the opposite sides of the station. Others, such as Twisted Colossus and West Coast Racers, only load one train, which travels the entire length of the course. At 4,000 feet, it’s a fairly long course, and the ride’s generous three-minute duration is all the more notable considering the launched coaster doesn’t have a poky lift hill (or, in the case of Twisted Colossus, two poky lift hills).
The train launches out of the station and almost immediately tilts to the left for a high-five element with the right-tilting train racing alongside it. Unlike Twisted Colossus (which is especially glorious when its trains duel), West Coast Racers always (at least to my knowledge) syncs up and races. It then enters a zero-G stall in which the train hangs upside down as it races forward. It’s a bit disconcerting to look to the side and see another trainload of passengers zero-G stalling in lockstep.
After turning upright, the train drops down, ratchets up its speed with an LSM boost, and navigates a corkscrew. It meanders around before swooping down and into the loading station building where it crawls to a halt. Separated from the dispatch operations by a wall, the holding area is themed as a pit stop in the West Coast Racers garage. A brief video featuring personalities from the shop plays as passengers wait for the opposing train to complete the loading process and get into position. Depending on the efficiency of the ride ops, folks can spend a fair amount of time twiddling their thumbs here. When it’s finally time to roll, riders essentially repeat the course on the other side of the track.
The launches and boosts are fun, but don’t have the wild intensity of other, more extreme launched coasters. It’s great that Six Flags incorporated a West Coast Racers theme, but the storytelling is sparse, and the mid-course pit stop isn’t all that engaging. West Coast Racers is quite smooth, delivers a few, nice pops of airtime, and is a good addition to Magic Mountain’s formidable coaster lineup. But it’s not, in my estimation, among the park’s top-tier thrill machines.
If you’ve been on West Coast Racers, do you agree with my review? Have you tried any Mobius coasters? Do you think it’s odd that Six Flags decided to add a second racing/dueling coaster?