Knightmare

 

 

It was a strange feeling visiting Camelot when I did, knowing it could be the only visit I'd ever make. The rumour of Camelot's closure was one of those rumours that always seemed to make the rounds, along with a new UK woody and a makeover for X:nowayout. The Camelot one though had a sadly inevitable feel, and 15 months after my visit it came to fruition.

At the time of writing there are several rides looking for a new home, including the signature coaster Knightmare. This was a classic ride designed by the Schwarzkopf company, that provided some great thrills. It ranks as one of the best examples of an old school style steel coaster with no gimmicks or loops I've done.

I'm writing shortly after the closure of Camelot, so the ride's future is undecided. I find it hard to believe it won't find a home at some point. It's a good choice of signature coaster for a mid sized family park, and is easily good enough to hold it's own as part of a larger park. Hopefully that home will be somewhere in the UK.

  
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Knightmare, a ride where your set a quest by Treguard to retrieve a magical item from the clutches of Lord Fear. Sorry to anyone to young/old to get that reference. It seems appropriate though to reference a TV show from the late 80's and early 90's as that was an era I shall remember for the Schwarzkopf roller coaster.
They were responsible for numerous great roller coasters of that era, including Alton Tower's pre Nemesis classics like The Beast, The Black Hole and The Thunder Looper. Perhaps the greatest achievement were some of the thrilling ride designed to take up a very compact space for parks and to travel around the European fairground circuit. Recently I was lucky enough to ride 3 of these in a 5 day period. The legendary, 5 looping Olympia Bahn, the worlds largest, non looping travelling coaster; Alpinabahn, and an extended version intended for a permanent park spot in the form of Knightmare.
A lot of classic elements are highly evident. The curved hill lift designed to save space. A compact space containing many helixes and curved hills and drops. It's a masterful feat of design to get such an exciting layout in such a compact space, without being overly formulaic or predictable.
Of course a lot of Schwarzkopf coasters are also famous for their loops, often multiple number of loops. You don't find them here, you do though get a large sweeping first drop that heads out from the usual compact area, and out over the pathways around the ride, and does a large turn back in to the main ride footprint. From there it's a fast thrilling run through the previously mentioned layout. This offers a great ride as you tear around the track at a thrilling rate.
In a time when it seems like every new major coaster has to be either multi inversion or have some sort of gimmick it's refreshing to see what can be achieved with an ungimmicked non looping coaster using nothing but great track design. A combination of this and Whirlwind provide reason enough to pop in to Camelot as Whirlwind and this are well worth trying.