Never a fan of Vekoma boomerangs, some of which I found torturous, I rode two that I actually enjoyed so thought that it would be interesting to compare them. I was planning to post this sometime next month but just got word that one of them (Stinger) is being removed from its park so posting this now is more timely.
Goliath is a giant inverted boomerang – one of only half a dozen currently operating – at Six Flags New England whereas Stinger is an inverted boomerang, officially classified as an Invertigo coaster, located at Dorney Park. Goliath’s 191-foot twin towers loom over the park and look pretty impressive, especially considering the fact that they constitute vertical lift hills. Stinger is on a much smaller scale, standing 131 feet tall. Otherwise the layouts are similar except that Stinger features face-off seats. This is a welcome component because it not only facilitates face to face communication with other riders but offers riders the option of going through the inversions backwards during the first half of the ride or the second. I would be tempted to give Stinger the edge for the face-off seats but am giving it to Goliath for its massive dimensions.
Elements and Sequence
The elements on both are the same as those on other Vekoma boomerangs – lift hill, cobra roll, vertical loop, second lift hill – and in the same sequence. Goliath’s train is pulled up a vertical lift hill backwards, drops 177 feet, enters a 110-foot cobra roll followed by a 102-foot vertical loop, ascends the second lift hill and when the train is released, repeats the course in reverse with the train travelling backwards. Stinger’s train is likewise pulled up the lift hill backwards – or forward depending upon which way the riders are facing – before dropping 125 feet, entering a cobra roll of indeterminate dimensions followed by a 72-foot vertical loop then ascending the second lift hill before repeating the course in reverse. Goliath reaches a maximum speed of 65.6 mph while Stinger reaches a maximum speed of 55 mph. Despite the disparity in size, the two coasters are roughly equivalent in terms of elements and sequence. They are also equivalent in that they share a history of malfunctions with a lot of downtime, although Stinger more so than Goliath. There is no clear winner in this category.
Being pulled up a lift hill backwards on a boomerang is almost invariably unnerving, as it gives riders the sensation of being about to pitch forward. The vertical lift on Goliath ranks among the most terrifying experiences I’ve ever had on a coaster. Because a ride op trying to fill in empty seats directed me to the next to last row (Goliath has 8 cars seating 4 across for a total capacity of 32 riders as opposed to Stinger’s 7 cars seating 2 across in 2 rows for a total capacity of 28), I was high up on the lift hill, tilted precariously forward and holding on for dear life. Once the train was released and flew through the station the ride was fine. The three inversions were very cool and the second lift hill was a piece of cake. (A glass of wine before a repeat ride made the first lift hill much easier to take.) A couple of park employees I ran into at an ice cream stand remarked that Goliath is rough and I suppose it is to some extent, but not nearly as rough as Flashback, the other Vekoma boomerang in the park. As to Stinger, I had some of the same issues with being pulled up the lift hill backwards as on Goliath but to a lesser extent. It was a fun ride, like Goliath a bit rough in spots but enjoyable enough to merit repeat rides. It’s worth noting that Stinger has a slightly higher G-force than Goliath. The G-forces are 5 and 4.5, respectively, both pretty good scores.
And the winner is: Goliath. Both coasters are superior to other boomerangs I’ve ridden and which is better depends largely on what you hope to get from a ride. Despite the scarifying lift hill – or maybe even because of it – I give Goliath higher marks for offering a more extreme thrill ride.
What’s your take? Have you ridden Goliath and Stinger and if so, how do you think they match up?
And what do you think about Dorney’s decision to dispense with Stinger? I was extremely unhappy to learn that Stinger is about to bite the dust. Obviously, it experienced more downtime than most coasters, as it was closed a couple of years ago for most of the season and undoubtedly carries high maintenance costs, but Dorney has comparatively few coasters so I hate to see them get rid of this one. I thought it was a lot better than Possessed, which gave me a headache. At this point there is no information available as to what the park plans to do with the space occupied by Stinger.