Maverick delay disappoints fans

SANDUSKY Visit the Funcoast.com Web site to see videos about M
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

SANDUSKY

Visit the Funcoast.com Web site to see videos about Maverick and what's new at the park this season. Be sure to check out the interactive diagram, stats and Shootout game!

The park was just days away from unveiling its newest ride.

The weather forecast was favorable and excitement was building.

Then news broke that Maverick, Cedar Point's new $21 million coaster, would not be up and running in time for the seasonal park reopening Saturday.

"I was very disappointed," said coaster fan Mike Kaman. "But I understand -- the park needs to do what they need to do."

On Tuesday, the park announced that the opening of Maverick, the park's 17th coaster, would be delayed until early June for modifications to the coaster's steel track. The decision to delay the ride was based on pre-opening tests and consultation with the ride's maker, IntaRide. Tests revealed that the trains were too stressed at certain points along the coaster's track. Three sections of the steel track near the loading area will be replaced.

Many other coaster enthusiasts' reactions to the Maverick's delay mirrored Kaman's thoughts.

"I understand there are some people who may be frustrated, but that's basically the nature of the business. It could have been a number of things," said Mark Cole, president of the American Coaster Enthusiasts. "This time, they decided safety was more important and I support that."

Kaman, who runs the Cedar Point fan Web site, thepointol.com, said news of the ride's delay was unexpected, even though rumors had spread that it might not be ready.

"We were very surprised to find out about the malfunction," said Kaman, who is also a member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts. "It came out of nowhere."

Earl Shick's reaction to the news was a bit different.

"I was kind of wondering why they keep buying from Intamin because they keep having trouble with them," Shick said, referring to the problems the park encountered in 2003 with Top Thrill Dragster. The ride -- the park's tallest and fastest coaster -- was closed down for much of its debut year after the park experienced trouble with the ride's prototype hydraulic oil system and launching cables. Top Thrill Dragster also injured four riders in 2004 when a cable frayed.

Cedar Point spokesman Bryan Edwards said Wednesday that the park has not received any negative comments or any requests for travel reimbursements because of the ride's delay. Instead, he said, the park has received "overwhelming support." Although riders are disappointed, they understand.

"Again, safety is our priority. We're not going to run a ride unless we're completely confident that it is safe," Edwards said.

Cole, who lives in Florida, said although he was not planning on coming to Cedar Point this weekend, he still plans to make a trip sometime this summer to ride the Maverick.

"Anytime a new roller coaster gets built, I get excited," said Cole, adding that he has ridden more than 400 roller coasters worldwide. "It doesn't matter where it's at. Just the fact that it's a new roller coaster to ride -- a new experience. At some time, I hope to be out in Sandusky."

Shick, who is also vice president of the Greater Ohio Coaster Club and a member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts, said he still plans to be present for Cedar Point's opening day. Regardless of Maverick's delay, Shick will spend Saturday at the park attending his 25-year-old son's bachelor party.

"There are still 16 other coasters to ride," said Shick, of Fairview Park. "They're a little bit disappointed (about Maverick's delay), everybody is, but like I said, there are 16 other coasters. We'll find something to ride."

The Maverick is a western-themed, terrain-hugging coaster, located in Frontiertown. It is more than 100 feet tall, boasts a 95-degree drop, and is more than 4,000 feet long. It can reach a high speed of nearly 70 mph and is one of the park's most expensive projects in Cedar Point history.