Evel Knievel is a legend. Millions of fans mourned the passing of the original super daredevil just a few days ago. I have been a long time fan of Knievel, so I was thrilled when Six Flags, St. Louis announced that they were constructing a roller coaster named after the famed motocycle stuntman.
Then I saw the artist drawing for the Evel Knievel coaster.
It is a wooden coaster. And don't get me wrong, woodies remain my favorite kind of coasters, with The Beast at King's Island topping them all for this particular Beast. But this layout just didn't seem to have the right kind of extreme content that an "Evel Knievel" Coaster should have. Journalist Arthur Devine says it like this: "The high-flying Evel Knievel (the man) offers a potent subject around which a wild coaster could be themed. An LIM-Powered steel coaster, for example, could stop mid-course, rev up to speed on a straight piece of track, fly up a ramp, and soar through a ring of fire. Or an inverted steel coaster (in which the trains would hang from a track above), with cars made to resemble motorcycles, could incorporate buses over which the "cycles" could fly. But a wood coaster offers few opportunities to capitalize on the Evel Knievel legend."
Upon first reflection, I was on the same page as Devine, and still think there is merit to his proposal. But then again, the methodology of Knievel seems to parallel nicely with the old school wood coaster. Why? Because Knievel was a daredevil before computers and high tech methods of calculation and measuring. The guy didn't even have a speedometer on his bike. Most jumpers today are calculated, judging the wind speed and direction, etc. I'm certainly not knocking that, they should do whatever they can do to make the jump, but Knievel just went off "feel" and that is why most people remember him more for his spectacular misses than his breath-taking victories. So, with that in mind, maybe it is fitting after all for a coaster named after Knievel to be more of a classic woodie than something of a super high-tech nature.
Whatever the case, RexandtheBeast will be there (hopefully opening day) to experience the legend of Evel Knievel!