Coaster season is coming and Mark Cole and John Gerard are experts on riding them, visiting between 15 and 20 parks a year and traveling as far as
FUNWORLD: Which coasters are you most looking forward to this year?
John Gerard: Knoebels’ “Flying Turns” is the most highly anticipated new ride of the season and I know they won’t fail to deliver. I'd have to say this is the most highly anticipated new ride of the coming season. Also, the “Ravine Flyer II” at Waldameer in
Mark Cole: I’m looking forward to the [Zamperla] MotoCoasters at Knott’s Berry Farm and Darien Lake. It’s truly a new concept. (See Knott's Berry Farm's Pony Express car at right.)
JG: “Evel Knievel” at Six Flags St. Louis looks to be a great woodie from Great Coasters International. For the non-wooden coasters, I’m really excited about “Behemoth” at Canada’s Wonderland (click on rendering at left to enlarge)—it’s a big, tall, fast one. And then there’s Hard Rock – a whole new park! They’ve got great theming and five new coasters, too!
MC: The ones I’m most anticipating include the “Steel Hawg” at Indiana Beach and definitely “Shivering Timbers” at Michigan’s Adventure, since I’ve never been to the park.
FW: What’s in the works for American Coaster Enthusiasts?
JG: ACE has just unveiled an updated web site (www.aceonline.org) with better graphics, easier navigation and more information. And this year we have our Spring Conference in May at
MC: We’re always trying to find ways to give our membership more value. We’re planning a trip to
FW: This could be hard to answer, but do you have a favorite coaster?
MC: If I could ride “
JG: My current No. 1 is “The Voyage” at Holiday World [in Santa Claus,
FW: What excites you about roller coasters?
MC: For me, it’s the fun factor. If I can get on, feel comfortable, and just enjoy the ride, that makes a “favorite coaster.” Air time, floating, or being pushed into my seat by gravity is always fun.
JG: If you asked 1,000 people that question, you’d get 1,000 different answers; that’s what’s great about coasters. I personally like a fast coaster with height changes, negative G’s, directional changes, and no “dead spots” in between.
MC: Loops are fine but to me, you don't need lots to make a good coaster.
FW: What’s the furthest you’ve traveled or most effort you’ve put into riding a coaster?
JG: The furthest I've been is
MC: I went with the European Coaster Club to Scandinavia in 1995 and 2003, and with ACE to ride coasters in