Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio) has always been an amusement park which used record breaking rides to gain attention. The flagship of the Cedar Fair group has turned into the Mecca for roller coaster enthusiasts many years ago and managed to stay in that position ever since. Not less than seventeen roller coasters are located on the small island at the southwest corner of Lake Erie. The youngest member in this large family of thrill machines is breaking ranks, though. Maverick is the name of that small ride which is hiding at the very back of the park and is neither very high or especially fast. But what has Maverick to offer for facing the competition with rides like Millennium Force or Top Thrill Dragster?
Maverick is located in the Frontiertown area near the Mean Streak wooden roller coaster. Originally Maverick was a Texan cattleman but the logo of the ride is decorated with the image of a black stallion. It is quite obvious however that the ride name refers to the meaning of Maverick as an outsider which fits very well to the ride after all. So let's try a ride on the back of the wild stallion and see if we can tame him. A small part of the track layout is visible from the entrance of the ride. Very frequently one of the six trains can be seen galloping through the two inversions which were being placed as eye-catcher elements. Good views to the back portion of the ride gives the walkway from Millennium Force. From there you can also catch a glimpse of the first drop. Although only 30 meters high it has a very steep drop angle of 95 degrees. But first we follow the wooden walkway that takes us to the queue area. The only thing you can see from the queue line while going back and forth is the final brake unfortunately what lets the wait time become very dreary. A broad wooden staircase finally leads up into the station building.
Inside the station there are always two trains loaded at once as Maverick has remarkable dispatch times between trains. While the first loaded train is already climbing the lifthill the second is parked for a brief time behind the station so that the next two trains can be unloaded and loaded again. To make the whole procedure as fast as possible you don't wait inside the station for a specific row. Instead an employee directly assigns us to a row before we even enter the station building. Through that there is hardly any empty seat in the train. There are individual queue lines for the front and back row of both trains however which you may enter after politely asking the employee. The wait time is only a few minutes longer normally. The trains of Maverick are very fancy to say the least. The cars themselves have a lacquering of several different colours from bronze over silver to pitch black. The seats and over-the-shoulder restraints are of an orange colour and have yellow coverings. Thick rivets and plain ornaments decorate the edges. The design of the trains as a whole almost screams for an award. There is also the familiar stadium seating where the second row of every car is slightly elevated for a better view. As soon as we have taken place inside the noble ride vehicle an employee already pushed down our over-the-shoulder restraint and closed the safety belt.
The lifthill is directly in front of us. We notice however that Maverick has neither a chain nor some kind of sled which could take us upwards. Instead there are several white boxes on the track which reach until the end of the lifthill. Like magic the train picks up speed and very quickly climbs the hill. The technology used here is LSM (Linear Synchronous Motor) to take the train to the top. The system works just like at a launch with the only difference that the train isn't launched but simply follows the magnetic field of the countless LSM modules with a constant speed up to the top of the lift. A small gag which very likely won't be repeated at many other rides after comparing the costs with a traditional chain lift.
Just before the top of the lift we slow down a bit and the first car is carefully being pushed into the more than vertical first drop. The fall is short but intense and naturally more distinctive in the back rows. Our train then throws itself into a sharp right turn and speeds into a small canyon. What follows is a wild directional change into a left turn and shortly after into a right turn again. With full speed we go over a camelback which manages to forcefully pull us out of the saddle. Another long right turn close to the ground is leading directly into the first corkscrew. For a brief moment everything is upside down before the next very tight left turn follows and leads to the second corkscrew. This combination of ride elements has received its own name as the "Twisted Horseshoe Roll". After the second inversion we ride through a tight right turn with high speed and afterwards into a tunnel under the station where the train is braked down almost to a complete stop. Our train then continues to roll further into the mine shaft very slowly. Pit lamps flash left and right which are attached to the support pillars of the shaft. We hear the metal-like ringing of the bell of a railroad crossing and the gasping noise from a steam engine. Then suddenly the train accelerates to breathtaking speeds. The darkness and tightness inside the shaft are increasing the sensation of speed even more. Bright flashing lamps flicker and illuminate the shaft with their light. We are being thrown into an incredibly tight left turn and through that manage to evade the end of the tunnel. Back outside we then speed upwards into a straight section of track where our train is braked to a more normal speed again. Shortly after we pick up speed again while travelling through a downward right turn over a large lake. Very close to us water is splashing up from several exploding water bombs but thanks to the still very high speed we manage to escape. Another canyon lies in front of us and the train winds its way through the rocks with quick right to left turns. We speed steeply upwards again and while passing over a wall the track bends sharply to the right. For a brief moment we think that we might fall off the track. But Maverick continues to follow the path given by the red track with determination. The right turn continues before another heavy twist to the left gives us that feeling again that we might be thrown away. Another small camelback provides a change from the heavy twists we left behind us and we are pulled out of our seats once more. Afterwards we speed through another right turn straight into the final brakes. An unbelievably wild ride has come to an end.
|Manufacturer:||Intamin Transportation Ltd.|
|Opening:||May 26th 2007|
|Specials:||95° First Drop, Twisted Horseshoe Roll,|
Launch inside a 120 meter long tunnel
|Cost:||21 million US-Dollar|
Despite its relatively low height, Maverick is a very intense roller coaster which manages to surprise even after several rides. Although the theming around the ride is quite minimalistic compared to first concept arts it sufficiently supports the western theme. In the end, Cedar Point has always put the focus more on the actual ride experience than on surrounding theming, anyway. The whole track layout offers no time to break as there comes one directional change after the other. All of the elements are well calculated and fabricated as there are no uncomfortable rough sections noticeable. Still, the ride is intense and if you don't prepare for the turns you can get problems with the over-the-shoulder restraints while riding through the smooth, but very quick directional changes. That is only one minor downside however as Maverick shines because of its wild nature, fast directional changes and a great launch in the mid section of the track layout. Cedar Point has betted on the right horse and put another world class roller coaster in their park again.