What happened to Danter’s Top Spin?


Danter’s Revolution was one of only three Top Spin rides ever to be built by the UK based firm NA Super Rides (David Ward). Making it’s debut at Neath September fair 1995, the 34-seated monster certainly made an impression.

Unlike the hugely successful Huss Top Spin that influenced NA’s design, the pivot point on the Revolution was located closer to the centre of gravity and allowed the gondola to be flipped almost continuously when under the control of an experienced operator. Whilst this was spectacular to watch, it was known to be somewhat of a nauseating ride experience. It is believed to be this, in conjunction with excess maintenance, that led to the ride being sold overseas at the end of the 2000 season.

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Above photo of the Revolution @ King’s Park Bournemouth May 1996 under Danter’s ownership. Photo by Martin Cooper

What happened to the Revolution?

At the time of it’s sale at the turn of the millenium, widespread internet access was not yet a thing – and most people had to just deal with the fact that it had gone. You’d think then, that come 2016 we’d be able to hop on the web and do a quick google for “Revolution Top Spin Ride” and up it’ll pop in it’s current location. Unfortunately this has proved not to be the case, as Kinzler’s (Huss) Revolution dominates any search results.

Well, this wasn’t good enough. The Revolution will always have a special place in my heart, partly because it forms so many of my childhood memories, and partly because it’s on my bucket list to operate it *hint hint*. Determined not to give up, I find myself sat at my computer until 4am with “google translate” open, tediously translating the words “Revolution Top Spin Carousel” into every language on the list and then doing a search. After about two hours I get to the Russian translation (Революция сверху спина карусель).

Here is the ex-Danter Revolution!

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“Exit: GET OUT” – The Russians certainly have a way with words.

The above two photos were actually posted in a for sale advert in 2013, with an advertised price of 10500000 RUB, which translates to approximately £89,000. Bargain! Whilst the backflash artwork has changed entirely, the machine still bares a remarkable resemblence to it’s former self, with the guitar lighting-splats still in tact as well as the Revolution top sign.

A bit of further digging around and I was able to find a little more. The for sale advert listed the ride as being in Sochi, Russia – how many small amusement parks could there be in that area? Turns out not too many. The precise  location of the Top Spin is the “Adlerkurort Metro Park”. If you look closely you can just about make out the outline of the ride on google maps:

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Unfortunately the park doesn’t seem to have a website, and in fact even directly googling it comes up with pretty much no information at all – however it is worth remembering the Russians use a different keyboard to us and therefore searching for anything is incredibly difficult without a translator.

I did however come accross a bizzare website that I would assume is a Russian version of Trip Advisor, and as luck would have it, two users have actually written a review of the Revolution. It would seem that the ride’s reputation is still in tact:

“Do not approach with the elderly, babies and people with cardiovascular diseases” said one reviewer.

An emotional outburst” said another.

The best by far however: “there flew a phrase from a man with whom in principal I agree! ‘There is nothing worse than a woman after maternity leave!!'”    – ?? Think that one’s been lost in translation.

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These reviews were posted in 2015. Those who knew the Revolution back in the day may well be surprised to hear that the ride is still in one piece and hasn’t shaken itself to bits! One interesting thing we also picked up on is that the ride now has water fountains at the front similar to those often found on the Huss models.

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And so there you have it. The Revolution goes on! Perhaps one day we’ll see it again. Perhaps not. There’s still hope though, David Hackett now owns the one remaining NA Top Spin in the UK (purchased from Michael Mulhearn in May 2014). The other one still exists too – ex John Guest’s “Rolling Thunder” can be found fairly easily on YouTube operating in the Czech Republic.

All these pictures are great, but have you got a video?

Yes! There is one video of Revolution in Russia (well, that I can find anyway!) and you can see it below. It was filmed in 2011. It seems the flipping isn’t quite up to speed with what it used to be – but this could be down to the operator. Pay close attention to the truly awful graffiti style artwork on the bottom of the ride car.

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Special thanks to Martin Cooper for allowing the use of one of his pictures in this article, as well as providing some of the information contained within. Other sources of info for this article: 1 2. If you know anymore about this, please do comment below and share with us!


Snowdonia Adrenaline Adventure!


If you’re reading this then chances are that you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie. Ask any theme park or ride geek and they’ll be able to tell you – probably in graphic detail – all about their first experience of a big ride. There’s something quite special about that feeling of terror as the adrenaline races through your body, but unfortunately that feeling does seem to fade over the years as you become “immune” to fear through experiencing so many rides.

So what can we do to scare ourselves?! Well – we head over to Wales for an action packed day of ziplining, swinging, climbing and jumping to see if we could get our adrenaline racing once more.

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Taken from the top of the 2nd Zipline at Zipworld Titan

The day consisted of the following activities:

  • Zipworld Titan (3x 4-lane racing ziplines)
  • Zipworld Velocity (Little Zipper and Big Zipper – Europe’s longest/fastest zipline)
  • Powerfan Plummet (106ft vertical climb and jump)
  • Skyride (Skyswing/Skycoaster)
  • Bounce Below (“trampolines” in a cave)

All in all the cost of the activities totalled just under £150 per person – so it’s not cheap – but we thought it was worth it just to be able to try something a bit different.

The Ziplines

Now, I don’t know if it’s just because we’re so used to coasters or not, but none of the 5 ziplines we did really phased us that much. There was a very strong focus on health and safety (as you’d hope), meaning that a lot of potential psychological fear of falling to your death is instantly eliminated. Zipworld titan has three medium sized ziplines, each of which having four “lanes” so that you can race your friends down to the bottom. The scenery and landscape underneath you was truly beautiful on these zips, and varied muchly between the three lines. Nothing too scary at all really, but very enjoyable. Zipworld Velocity is probably the scarier of the two attractions, as it features Europe’s longest and fastest Zipline, for which the riders are hung in a lying position for maximum aerodynamic-ness. You’re provided with safety goggles, which at first seems quite humorous, but you quickly realise how important they are when being pelted in the face by flies and other bits of flying shit at 100mph. This is the most expensive individual activity, coming in at around £60 per person just for the two ziplines. Worth it? Yes and no. We’re glad we did it, but wouldn’t rush to do it again.

View from the top of the Big Zipper at Zipworld Velocity

View from the top of the Big Zipper at Zipworld Velocity

Powerfan Plummet and SkySwing

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The Powerfan Plummet and SkySwing are both located at the same place – Treetop Adventure – not far from either of the ziplining attractions mentioned above. This is where things got scary. The PowerFan Plummet was almost certainly the highlight of the day. To put it simply, it’s a massive tree (106ft tall infact), with a few metal pegs hammered in and a platform built at the top. After being harnessed up you take to the tree and use the metal pegs to climb your way to the top. This is a terrifying, gruelling experience. After what feels like 5 hours, you accidentally look down and let out a small fart of terror as you realise how high you are. Following this you look up and let out another fart of terror as you realise that you’re still only quater of the way up and there’s no easy way to chicken out now! Eventually you do get to the top (in reality the climb is probably about 5 minutes long), and you get some time to pull yourself together and man up before being clipped to a rope that in theory will prevent your death as you jump off the top.

Whilst this was easily the most terrifying thing we can remember doing in a very long time, it was well worth it. The freefall sensation alone when jumping off is incredible. The SkySwing is basically just a huge swing – you get strapped onto a metal bar (it’s not comfy at all – wave byebye to fertility) – and winched up to the highest point. When you get to the top you pull the release chord yourself and begin the swing. Great fun, pretty scary, worth doing.

Both of these activities combined cost around £30, so definitely the best value for money all day and quite possibly the best activity all day.

The final activity to round off the day was Bounce Below. Located at the same site as Zipworld Titan, Bounce Below is a network of “trampolines” inside a cave. We say “trampolines”, but in reality it’s a series of bouncy nets on three different levels connected by slides and webbing to climb. Really good fun, but an injury waiting to happen.

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And that’s that! If you’ve read this entire article then chances are you’re interested in doing the activities too – if you do have any questions then please comment and we’ll get back to you. Below is our video of the entire day condensed into just a few minutes – please do watch and leave us a comment!

Oh – one more thing! They actually let us, and encourage, the use of GoPro cameras. They even provide helmets with GoPro mounts if you ask them for one. As theme park fans we’re not used to such loving treatment! On that basis – this entire day gets a big FIVE out of FIVE fictional stars. Well done Wales, you were fun.


Tayto Park’s Cú Chulainn Coaster – Our thoughts


For some reason, the UK is scared of getting wood. Why exactly? We don’t know, however we do suspect it has something to do with the fact that for most people their only point of reference to allow them to form an opinion are the old rickety things at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Whilst they may seem like great rides to enthusiasts, the general public do seem to assosiate the Blackpool woodies with pain or danger. For this reason it seems that UK parks see wooden coasters as a risky investment – but this could be about to change.

Europe already houses a selection of the world’s finest woodies – ranging from Troy at Toverland to Balder at Liseberg. Whilst it is easier than you might think to fly out to these parks, it’s a timely and often costly exercise. So when Tayto Park in Ireland announced that they were building a huge wooden coaster for the 2015 season we got very excited.

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The ride, named the Cú Chulainn Coaster, has been manufactured by the Gravity Group, the company behind the famous “Voyage” ride at Holiday World and features the new Timberliner trains (which, unlike standard wooden coaster cars, have wheel assemblies that can steer and provide a smoother ride). Over 800,000kg of yellow pine was used in the construction, 100 tonnes of steel and over 700,000 bolts – producing a ride with a 32 meter drop and a track length of 1082 metres. All very impressive statistics, but what we really wanted to know is how does it ride?!

Luckily we didn’t have to wait long to find out. Being members of the European Coaster Club, we received an invitation to visit the park on Thursday 4th June 2015 for the Media Launch of the ride, ahead of it’s offical opening on Friday 5th. A quick visit online and we’d booked our flights, £10 each way with Ryanair – it really is that simple. After what seemed like the shortest flight in the history of the world and a 15 minute drive in a hire car we arrived at the park and were faced with an incredible view of the new coaster.

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To be totally honest, we were a bit skeptical that the ride would be any good. In photos it does appear as though it’s a fairly plain layout without much emphasis on airtime or twists. What we didn’t expect was to be proven so wrong. The Cú Chulainn Coaster is awesome. 

Right from the moment we entered the queueline there was something magical about it, perhaps hightened by the fact that the wood was so new that anything you touched caused a storm of sawdust to appear. Everything looked so fresh and new, even down to the shiny red trains. Speaking of the trains, they’re strange little things! They almost look like they’re made out of Meccano, and at first feel as though the lapbars are going to pin you in too much and ruin the airtime. Again, we were proven wrong on this!

The Ride experience itself

So, after taking your seat in the 24-seater train and being locked in with a lapbar that swings down from the side of the car, the train begins to climb the lift hill. The first drop is amazing, very steep and smooth without that jarring feeling a lot of woodies have at the bottom of a drop as the train’s wheels slam back down onto the track. The drop leads into a tunnel with a hidden airtime hill, which at the speed you’re going gives substansial ejector airtime and sets the tone for the rest of the ride. In pictures it may look like the track is just a giant figure 8 but you’d be wrong to assume that. This coaster has so many unique and exciting moments packed into it, and lots of airtime.

The inversion? What Inversion? There was a lot of talk about the Cú Chulainn Coaster having an inversion, with some sources even claiming the whole ride was “inverted”. Unfortunately this was just a bit of a marketting tool, the ride doesn’t actually feature any inversions but does have an overbanked turn. To be honest, this turn was probably the only disappointing part of the ride, as it was a little rough and “shunty”. Don’t get me wrong we enjoy a good shunt but it did disturb the McDonald’s breakfasts that were still digesting in our bellies. We were led to believe that this roughness was being worked on and that the overbanked turn shunt should hopefully be a thing of the past soon – there was actually work being carried out on it after our preview session ended.

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The ride was due to open the next day, Friday 5th June, but in the end didn’t actually open until Saturday 6th – why exactly we don’t know, but it is assumed that it was to allow for finishing touches to be made to the ride.

The verdict

Tayto Park’s new coaster is very very good. It’s smooth, it’s fast, it has lots of sudden changes of direction, airtime and it feels like a really long ride. Is it the best woodie we’ve ridden? No, but it comes close. Is it the best woodie within easy reach of the UK? Definitely. Fingers crossed that the ride is well received and that it nudges UK parks into considering wood themselves. Interestingly we did see management from Drayton Manor at the media day talking to the Gravity Group – take that as you will – but it’s promising.

The rest of the park is great! It’s small and attractions are currently quite limited, but it is clear the park is heading in the right direction. As well as the coaster, Tayto Park also opened eight other attractions this year including a Zamperla Air Race and “The Rotator” – a 360 looping swing ride. We strongly recommend that you visit and see the park for yourself. Really, it’s easier than you think to do in a day or as part of a weekend trip. We’ve plenty more to say but don’t want to ramble on too much, please do leave a comment with any questions.


“I’ll never ride that again!”


We’ve all had those moments where we get out of a ride and say “I’ll never do that again”. There are all sorts of reasons for this, perhaps you don’t like heights and were dared to try ‘Tall ride 001’ out, perhaps you’re scared of rides in general, or maybe the ride in question has just made you feel a bit sick. The point I am trying to make, however, is that it’s rare to come off a ride with a genuine hatred for it. As an enthusiast who’ll ride even the roughest of coasters over and over (The Ultimate, anybody?), I think I have finally found the one to avoid.

Tornado at M&D’s Scotland Theme Park is the worst rollercoaster I have ever ridden.

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Click for image source (RCDB)

Standing at just under 80ft tall, at first glance Tornado is a visually impressive twisting mess of track. Manufactured by Pinfari, the ride is capable of being packed onto lorries and travelled to different locations. In reality though, it’s a huge piece of kit which isn’t ideally suited for the UK fun fair scene, and hence it has been in M&D’s Scotland Theme Park since 1998.

As an aside, then, I’ll set the scene. M&D’s Scotland Theme Park falls into the Static funfair/Amusement park category, whereby it’s essentially a carpark with travelling rides plonked on which stay there permanently. Whilst this does mean that it isn’t really a theme park at all, as an amusement park it is pretty decent. It’s free entry, so Grandma Dorris doesn’t have to pay to come in and watch her grandchildren having fun on the rides (although she will have to pay £16.85 each for them to do so). There’s also little to no queuing and a good selection of rides to try.

Anyway, back to Tornado. We saved riding this one ’til last, as it was the biggest and assumed best coaster in the park. As we approached the ride a friendly scottish bloke said some stuff which was hard to understand and we nodded and laughed politely, although what we did pick out is that we couldn’t ride in the pink train because it was broken. At this point the pink train was sitting in the loading station, and he proceeded to send it out around the track empty. Watching it judder around the course proved great fun as we made typical coaster enthusiast jokes about how shit pinfari are. At this point we were loaded into the green train and we lowered the comically small over the shoulder restraints, which were then double secured with a seatbelt to the floor by the happy Scottish man who was desperately trying to avoid brushing our penises whilst performing the fiddly task.

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Click for image source (RCDB)

These trains really are hilarious, and testament to Pinfari’s “we make our rides as uncomfortable as possible” ethos. Wave goodbye to legroom and say hello to a neck-chopping harness and the end of your fertility.

So anyway, after having our bars checked we were dispatched from the station and beginning the climb up the lift hill. The layout was looking more and more impressive as we began to view it from above, with the added bonus of stunning views of the surroundings. The thought of a coaster of this size travelling the UK was pretty exciting at this point, with a smell of oil wafting up from the lift chain not too dissimilar from that of the general smell of being at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

We rolled slowly over the crest of the lift hill and into the first drop which sweeps down to the right. Whilst it was pretty rough, there’s no escaping the fact that it’s a good drop which gives adequate tingly ball feeling. The track then makes it’s way back up through the centre of the layout before sweeping down to the left picking up great speed as is throws you into two consecutive vertical loops of pain, both of which providing a mouthful of oily water to the riders.

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Click for image source (RCDB)

Up until this point it’s still an acceptable ride, we were just being picky coaster geeks about the roughness. This, however, all changes as soon as you leave the second loop. A seemingly straight piece of track jolts you violently sideways launching the left side of your neck straight into the already uncomfortable harnesses. Screams of pain echoed throughout the train and even us enthusiasts exchanged our jovial laughter for serious concern. The coaster ploughed on through the circuit, which seemed to last for an eternity. We were desperately waiting for the final brake run, but instead the cruel beast insisted on throwing us into a plethora of inappropriately banked corners and hops.

When we eventually did hurtle into the brake run it was a relief to be freed. A headache was to follow imminently, with a stiff neck developing later in the day. It’s a shame really, cos it’s a promising layout poorly executed. It could be argued though that that is indeed Pinfari’s slogan.

Don’t let this put you off the place though, the rest of the day was great, with plenty of queue-free rides around the park and the most interesting take on a cornetto soft I’ve ever seen. Tsunami, another Pinfari coaster in the park, is surprisingly good for what it is, and of course there’s the kiddies Caterpillar coaster for all those of you wanting to boost your coaster count!


The FIRST EVER Hold Tight Riders blog post


Hello. Welcome.

It seems as though you’ve landed yourself onto my blog, which – at the time of writing – is a fairly blank page with some text boxes littered about. I can assure you, however, that by your next visit there will be a generous splooge of rollercoaster on offer. I’ve been threatening to create one of these for some time now, so in the words of Ant and Dec – let’s get ready to rumble.

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“Tell us about yourself?”

I like rides.

“oh…”

Yep. Bit of ride geek.

Captured at a young age by the smell of diesel and hotdogs, I was destined to spend a lot of my life at the fun fair. Being brought up with an equally enthusiastic father meant that a maximum amount of pure ride-geekery would unfold.

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But the story didn’t end there… (Bonus points to anyone who can tell me where that reference is from!)
Theme parks entered my life pretty big time about six or seven years ago. Kind of.. They have always been an interest of mine, as is proven in many-a-family video documenting days out to Drayton Manor and the like, it’s just that it wasn’t until I was 14 that I decided that I wasn’t a wuss anymore and actually rode my first ‘proper’ coaster – Rock N Rollercoaster in Paris. The main reason for this was of course a good ol’ dose of peer pressure… But all shitting myself aside, I’ve not looked back since.

“What can I expect from your blog, huh?”

Essentially, I realised that I enjoy reading people’s opinions/reviews/general chitchat about this kind of stuff, so I thought I’d give it a go myself.. maybe I can even make you laugh whilst you read it.

Here’s some bullet points, partially to make it easy to see what you can expect, but mainly because everybody loves a good bullet point.

  • Theme Parks
  • Fun Fairs
  • Photos of rides looking all sexy
  • Running out of bullet point ideas, realised it’s best to put them all in one point:
  • THEME PARK/FAIR/RIDE REVIEWS & PHOTOS & VIDEOS. SOME LAUGHING, HOPEFULLY. A FREE iPAD. lol JKS, no iPad.

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Anyway, my dear reader. It is now 1.50am, and whilst I am glad that we’ve finally begun our blogtastic journey together, I should probably head to bed. I look forward to speaking soon.

Thanks for reading.