First look: Oaks Amusement Park’s new ’coaster

Here Take a look, and you’ll see why riders will be definitely be getting thrills on this sleek new roller coaster, starting Spring Break weekend …

With pieces of the old rollercoaster in the foreground, the newest Oaks Amusement Park attraction rises just south of the park entrance.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Last December, we all said our goodbyes to the venerated “Looping Thunder” rollercoaster at historic, non-profit Oaks Amusement Park.

To read our story about this, ‘Looping Thunder’ goes silent at Oaks Park, CLICK HERE.

By mid February, the management of this century-old amusement park was clearly making good on their promise to replace their imported Italian rollercoaster with a brand new “and better” one.

After the top of the new ‘coaster’s “Immelmann turn” is installed, a worker adjusts the track’s rigging.

“As of today, the only part that remains to be installed is the top cap on one of the big loops,” pointed out Oaks Amusement Park Promotion and Events Manager Emily MacKay, in our preview interview. (It has since been completed.)

“It was delivered in crates and pieces, and been amazing to watch, seeing it go up like a giant Erector® set – surprisingly quickly,” MacKay told East Portland News.

Oaks Amusement Park Promotion and Events Manager Emily MacKay shows off the new ’coaster’s train cars – which, during our interview, were still wrapped from their trip from Germany.

Since December, after the old ride was cleared away and its pieces stored, workers carefully poured concrete foundation pilings deep into the ground for the new ride – ready for the new parts to arrive. “So far, preparing the area was a bigger project than assembling the new ride,” observed MacKay with a rueful grin.

Within about ten days, and under the watchful eye of Martin Däxle – the engineer sent by the manufacturer, Gerstlauer Amusement Rides GmbH – the ride had been fully assembled.

This crew member prepares to tighten bolts, as the ride’s tracks are installed and aligned.

For ’coaster enthusiasts, Gerstlauer calls this model of their tubular steel-rail roller coaster the “Euro-Fighter” – featuring the company’s “patented” 97 degree initial drop, making it one of the steepest coasters available to riders anywhere.

Other statistics include:

  • 72 foot vertical lift
  • 97° first drop
  • 1,050 feet vertical length
  • The ride features two train cars
  • Eight people per train car, riding in two rows
  • Maximum speed 45 miles an hour
  • About 500 people per hour can enjoy the ride

It won’t be long until this ride is providing “extreme thrills” for guests to historic Oaks Amusement Park.

What classifies this as an “extreme” amusement park ride? Three main elements:

  1. The more-than-vertical drop initial drop, which takes riders into a large loop.
  2. Immediately following is an “Immelmann turn”, in which riders enter a half-loop followed by a half-twist, and then exit the element traveling in the opposite direction – having made a 180-degree turn.
  3. Last is the “Heartline roll” (sometimes called a barrel roll) in which the train twists – inverting the train, so the rider makes a 360-degree roll on one axis, where the track twists – before heading back into the station.

While “extreme”, it’s still designed to accommodate kids, teens, and adults 48 inches high or taller. “Our old ’coaster left a lot of little faces in tears, because riders needed to be 54 inches or taller,” MacKay explained. “If everything continues as smoothly as it has been, this ride will open on our season’s opening day for Spring Break, on March 24!”

Welcome to the latest attraction at The Oaks: The Adrenaline Peak Roller Coaster.

And, the new ride has just been officially named for Oaks Park: The Adrenaline Peak Roller Coaster, submitted by 20 year old Clackamas Community College student William Phillips.

“He’ll receive a $500 Oaks Amusement Park Gift Card for his winning entry,” MacKay smiled.

Gerstlauer Amusement Rides GmbH engineer Martin Däxle monitors the progress of the new roller coaster ride’s assembly.

Looking up at the ride, as the construction neared completion, Gerstlauer’s Martin Däxle said, “I feel really good seeing this attraction go up. This ride will provide memories and thrills that people will remember for a lifetime!”

Find out more about the “Adrenaline Peak Roller Coaster”, this 113-year-old Oaks Amusement Park, and their Spring Break hours and ticket prices, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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