Sweet “Revenge” at Hersheypark
RMC hybrid coaster coming next summer
The 26-year-old Wildcat, which closed last year at Pennsylvania’s Hersheypark, will be the 16th wooden coaster to be “RMCed,” That’s a term enthusiasts sometimes use to refer to the process by which noted ride manufacturer Rocky Mountain Construction takes aging wooden coasters, replaces their traditional wooden tracks with the company’s revolutionary IBox steel track, and produces hybrid wooden-steel coasters. Invariably, RMC converts rough, past-their-prime woodies into super-smooth, airtime-filled coasters that make fans go gaga.
The company fuses its newfangled track with existing wooden structures, but it tinkers, sometimes considerably, with the layouts of its hybrid mashups. For example, before going under RMC’s knife, Wildcat climbed 106 feet, reached a top speed of 50 mph, and traversed a total of 3,183 feet. When it emerges next summer as Wildcat’s Revenge however, the reborn ride will be 140 feet tall, hit a potent 62 mph, and include 3,510 feet of rail. Oh, and it will include four inversions.
Are you going gaga yet?
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Let’s dig a little deeper into this new breed of cat. After climbing the lift hill, passengers will drop down the other side at an 82-degree angle. That’s plenty steep, but not as steep as some of the RMC makeovers, which plummet straight down at 90 degrees–or, in the case of Iron Gwazi, which opened at Busch Gardens Tampa earlier this year, beyond vertical at 91 degrees.
Among its four inversions, Wildcat’s Revenge will deliver two of coasterdom’s elements-du-jour: a zero-G roll and an inverted stall. The former will twist riders 360 degrees as they experience a dose of disorienting airtime; the latter will flip passengers upside down–and leave them hanging upside down for what will seem like an interminable time–as the train races forward.
The other inversions will be a reversing downhill roll and what Hersheypark is describing as the world’s largest underflip. (I think Mary Tyler Moore may have rocked an underflip during the 1970s.) As I understand it, an underflip merges an upward-sloped zero-G roll with an overbanked turn and drop. In this case, the train will twist 270 degrees before stalling into the drop. The Hersheypark folks say it will be RMC’s tallest underflip and incorporate the most amount of track.
The ride will last 2 minutes and 36 seconds. Its trains will feature three-dimensional wildcats perched on the lead cars. They will, apparently, be seeking “revenge” on the all-wooden version of the coaster that preceded it. The sleek black and red trains will complement the ride’s black steel and wood structure and its fiery red IBox track.
Wildcat’s Revenge won’t break any records (other than the underflip size), nor will it approach the hypercoaster stats of Iron Gwazi or Cedar Point’s Steel Vengeance, both of which exceed 200 feet and top out at about 75 mph. Instead, it will more closely hew to the height and speed of the original IBox wooden-steel coaster, New Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas. That ride, as well as other RMC hybrids with similar stats, are plenty thrilling.
The ride’s lineage actually goes back farther than the 26-year-old coaster that preceded it.
“The Wild Cat was the first coaster at Hersheypark in 1923,” explains Vikki Hultquist, the park’s general manager of attractions. “It was an original Milton Hershey purchase, and 100 years later, this new hybrid coaster reclaims the name.” The coaster’s station, she adds, will feature low-pitched gables around the perimeter of its roof and other callbacks to the vintage ride’s station.
The wooden-steel hybrid ride will be Hersheypark’s 14th coaster (15th if you consider the twin-track Lightning Racer as two coasters). Boasting headliners such as the B&M hypercoaster, Candymonium, the Intamin wing coaster, Skyrush, and the 1946 woodie, Comet, the park has a mighty impressive lineup. The highly anticipated Wildcat’s Revenge will almost surely be among its best.
How many RMC hybrids have you experienced? How do you think Wildcat’s Revenge will compare to other RMC hybrids? Might you plan a visit to Hersheypark in 2023 to check out the new coaster? Where do you think Wildcat’s Revenge will rank among the park’s arsenal of coasters?