Guess what day it is? It's National Roller Coaster Day, so we're celebrating here on the Kings Island Blog with the first roller coaster that I ever rode, The Racer.
There may be more attention focused on other roller coasters these days at Kings Island and throughout the industry than the Racer, but once upon a time it was the most talked about ride in America.
Prior to the Racer, the demand for roller coasters, and more specifically wooden roller coasters, had been in decline since the Great Depression. Literally hundreds of roller coaster built from 1890-1930 met the fate of the wrecking ball. By 1965, only about 200 of the 2,000 roller coasters built through the 1920s remained in operation. Then along came the Racer with the opening of Kings Island in 1972. The ride’s instant popularity rekindled America’s interest in roller coasters, sparking the “second golden age” of the roller coaster.
The Racer acted as the catalyst for other potential high-capacity racing coasters including Racer 75 (formerly Rebel Yell) at Kings Dominion and Gemini at Cedar Point. It has also been the site of several world-record riding attempts and is notable for its appearance in the “Cincinnati Kids” episode of The Brady Bunch, filmed at the park in 1973. In 1982, one side of the Racer was transformed into the world’s first full-length, backwards traveling roller coaster, offering a unique ride experience that lasted for 26 seasons.
Who can say how many roller coasters would have been built if the Racer had not paved the way?
Click on the video below to be transported from your desktop or mobile device right into the front seat on The Racer.
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