The appropriately named Goliath roller coaster is the new world’s tallest, steepest and fastest wooden roller coaster which was opened in June at the Six Flags Great America theme park in Gurnee (Illinois, USA) just outside of Chicago.
Image by Six Flags
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With 3100 feet (940 m) of track, the Goliath is about average in terms of length for a wooden roller coaster, but its near-vertical drop of 180 feet (55 m) is far from average, ranking it number one in wooden roller coasters, and its top speed of 72 miles per hour (116 km/h) is also a record breaker, as of the date of publication. Previously, the El Toro roller coaster in New Jersey had been ranked number one with a 176 foot drop (54 m), and number two in speed after the Wildfire in Sweden. Despite this drop, the Goliath is not considered a megacoaster, but with three over-banked turns, a 180-degree zero G-roll twist, two wild inversions and a spiraling inverted zero G stall this coaster does offer an extreme ride for thrill seekers.
Image by Six Flags
Six Flags Great America is a popular world-class amusement park which is home to one of the biggest number of roller coasters in the world comparing to other parks. There are 14 trill rides including Goliath, dozens of family rides, water park rides and various entertainment activities and events. The park operates from May through to October and the daily pass will cost you $46.99 if to purchase online. Goliath is located in the County Fair section of the park, see the map below:
Construction for Goliath began in September 2013, after its predecessor, Iron Wolf (which was featured in the movie Richie Rich as Richie’s backyard roller coaster), closed in September of 2011. It was built in the same space as Iron Wolf, so the hill to Goliath’s monster drop is more steep than is usual for wooden roller coasters. Six Flags made use of social media to create excitement for the debut of Goliath. In August of 2013, they began a teaser campaign to introduce the public to Goliath. They showed pictures of artists’ renderings, design specs, and more so that their customers could watch the progress. It took 35 employees 40,000 man-hours to complete the roller coaster construction.
The roller coaster has been well received. Lines have been long, and reviews have been positive. After hundreds of test runs and limited release riders, the ride was opened to the public on June 19, 2014. At the time that it opened, it set three world records for wooden roller coasters: steepest drop, tallest drop, and the fastest wooden roller coaster.
Image by Six Flags
Goliath is also the most innovative wooden roller coaster in the world thanks to the new revolutionary kind of track system called “Topper Track”, which makes the wooden coaster less rickety providing a smooth ride and which allows to do all the tricks, like going upside down, that wooden coasters couldn’t do before.
With current technological advances, it is expected that Goliath won’t hold these records for long. Roller coasters never do. The Boss, at Six Flags St. Louis, held the record for the fastest wooden roller coaster for less than a month in 2000, and the Timber Drop in France held the record for the steepest steel roller coaster for thirteen days!
The Goliath is a monster ride for roller coaster enthusiasts. Wooden roller coaster fans may not consider it a true wooden coaster with the steel box track and polyurethane wheels, the roller coaster does its job of giving you one incredible riding experience! If you’re planning to visit the Chicago area, Goliath is definitely an attraction you should pay a visit to!