Evel Knievel jumps into Six Flags St. LouisScott Rutherford
Amusement Today, August 1, 2008

Six Flags St. Louis scored a major hit this spring with the introduction of a spectacular new $7 million wooden roller coaster. Dubbed Evel Knievel n honor of the late daredevil extraordinaire, this convoluted wooden wonder from Pennsylvania's Great Coasters International is a detailed study in expert craftsmanship and controlled mayhem.

Situated just inside the park's main entrance near the Arrow-designed Log Flume and Moon Antique Cars (the latter's course had to be reworked so it could travel beneath the new coaster), Evel Knievel's natural-hued structure blends well with the surrounding trees, effectively concealing the speeding trains as they dash through a forest of densely packed timbers.

Evel Knievel's rolling stock is comprised of GCII's exclusive and nimble Millennium Flyers sporting a patriotic stars-and-stripes motif. The two 12-car trains each take 24 riders on a madcap 50-mph tour of the circuitous 2,700-foot-long layout. Except for the 80-foot twisting first drop and two high banked turns on either end of the structure, the majority of the Evel Knievel experience occurs close to the ground, which translates into an enhanced sense of speed and out-of-your-seat floaters. The ride is characterized by multiple directional changes, 14 tightly framed crossovers and various other surprises, all working in concert to offer a unique adventure.

While some wooden coasters use brute force and monstrous proportions to produce their thrills, Evel Knievel relies instead on creative design techniques and traditional American inventiveness. A true test of a well-designed coaster is its ability to provide plenty of action and still remain totally rerideable. The coaster exemplifies this concept with ease.

Despite being only 82-feet-tall and taking up a relatively small parcel of real estate, the guys at GCII once again worked their alchemy to fashion another 1920s-style twister that manages to look as good as it rides. The attention to detail is second to none with every bent, ledger and track laminate merging into a single harmonious work of structural art (see sidebar for Evel Knievel's inspiration and a peek into GCII's unique design philosophy).

Six Flags officials couldn't be happier with the park's newest addition. "Everyone who rides Evel Knievel is impressed with how incredibly smooth the coaster is. The GCII-manufactured trains are plush and the theming is beautiful," Six Flags St. Louis President Dave Roemer told Amusement Today. "Evel Knievel is a great addition to our lineup of coasters, appealing to all guests from kids to adults, teens to families. We are thrilled with the ride!"

Reproduced with permission.