Sunday, 21 September 2014

David Chesney's Minotaur Coaster

In preparation for my trip we had done months of research trying to find as much to do as possible and we'd done a great job cramming things into the trip. That research didn't stop once the trip was underway and whilst staying in Toronto I made use of the hotel wifi to do one last check for anything new. 

Search for "new rollercoaster Toronto" and you'll get lots of articles about Leviathan, when I added  "-leviathan" to the search string I then got this article which reported a young man in the Toronto area who had built his own coaster, and through the powers of facebook I was able to get in touch with him and was really pleased when he said we could pop over for a visit. He did make it very clear that for legal reasons we couldn't ride it, and we were cool with that.

So after a short diversion from the previous park we pulled into a small cul-de-sac and were invited into David Chesney's family's back garden where the coaster is situated. It has the ride Minotaur, which is a great name for a coaster, much better than "Goliath" which seems all Six Flags creative department are capable of.

The ride looked really cool with a wave shuttle layout. David spent quite a bit of time talking us through the ride design and how he overcame the design the challenges that arose along it's 4-year construction. We appreciated being given the opportunity to see it as much as David appreciated having an audience that understood the technical nature of the construction. I think most of his audience to date had been media who wouldn't necessarily have been interested in the design of car articulation for example.

One thing that impressed me most about the ride was how we was able to re-use other things around him and re-purpose them to meet his needs, such as parts of a garden swing becoming an integral part of the lifting mechanism.

David giving us a demo of the ride. It can run from each end with a lift mechanism at each end. This allows it a forwards or backwards ride experience - 2 rides in 1! Christof gets to be ride operator controlling the lift mechanism that lifted him to the top.

Our timing had been pretty fortunate as David told us that the having completed the project the ride was due to be dismantled to make way for a new project.

A group of tourists pose next to the smallest and easily most unique coaster in Canada!
We did alarm his family who came home and saw us sitting in the ride. Once we made it clear we weren't riding but just posing in it they were fine :)

A very proud David posing with his ride. Thanks for being such a great host!

There are a small number of home-made coasters around the world and the most famous is probably the Blue Flash belonging to John Ivers in Western Indiana. Thomas had confirmed the location of a pipeline coaster in California which I found a couple of months prior to the trip starting. This one in Toronto is the only one I've been to and I was really impressed with what I saw here. David would love to work in the industry so I put some feelers out to the coaster maker firms as a way of saying thanks for letting us visit. I hope one day he gets a job and we might get to ride a larger wooden ride with his name on it.

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