Blackpool – stretching the truth?

Some of you, my regular readers are probably aware through various sources, that Blackpool Pleasure Beach have opened a new ride today.

This particular post/rant is about the marketing and publicity this second-hand machine seems to have attracted…

InfusionShown here, is a small screen-grab from Blackpool’s own website – boldly claiming “Infusion Opens Today – Infusion is the world’s first suspended looping coaster”

Well, it’s not.

Not even close.

There are, 22 examples of the standard SLC worldwide, plus the 2 original prototype models, plus 5 extended versions. So there’s 29 of these out there (including Infusion), the first one of which was built in 1994 in the Netherlands. I’ve ridden it.

Infusion is however not a new ride – it was first installed in 1999, at the now defunct Southport Pleasureland (not coincidently owned by Blackpool Pleasure Beach) under the name “TraumaTizer“, when it was the first SLC in the UK.

However when you click the link into the BPB site – you discover the rest of that headline grabbing quote. “Infusion the world’s first suspended looping coaster completely over water“.

Yup, completely over water. (they couldn’t omit the word “completely” as there’s a MK2 in Italy which is built partially over water)

OK, let’s look at another claim – ” Infusion is the tallest, fastest SLC in the UK, and represents an £8 million investment for Pleasure Beach.

Let’s break that claim down:

Tallest, Fastest SLC in the UK

Well, if we’re only counting standard SLC’s (of which we have already established there are 30 worldwide), then yes, it is. Given that it’s the only standard SLC in the UK, we can give them that – however it’s also the smallest and slowest – which is a claim which will stand up under closer scrutiny.

If we include the two custom layout SLCs in the UK however the story is very different.

Infusion stands 109ft high and reaches a top speed of 50mph (in common with the other 21 Mk3 SLC’s in the world)

Flamingoland’s “Kumali” has a 111ft drop, and a top speed of 55mph

Fantasy Island’s “Jubilee Odyssey” has a 141 foot drop, and a top speed of 63mph.

However it probably was an £8m investment. When they bought it in the late 90’s. I doubt it cost £8m to dismantle, paint and reassemble at Blackpool.

Now, I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan of BPB’s management after what the company did to Southport, (despite them having some fun and enjoyable rides) and I’ve never been a big fan of the SLC as a ride (I’ve ridden a few of them – none were really any fun – far too painful really) – but Blackpool’s marketing divison seem to have worked miracles and really pulled the wool over some people’s eyes in the media today – and it would seem, their website team too.

(all coaster stats taken from the Roller Coaster Database)

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