California's Great America has revealed that its new Gold Striker roller coaster will feature the "world's longest covered initial descent tunnel on a wooden coaster".
The 174-foot tunnel will be enclosed by wood on both sides, with a metal covering, to recreate the look and feel of a gold mine. Riders will plummet down the coaster's first drop in darkness at speeds of up to 54 miles per hour, before racing around its first turn.
Describing the plans, the park's Vice President and General Manager Raul Rehnborg said: "This fully-enclosed, twisting tunnel truly is a special element among wooden roller coasters. Gold Striker riders will experience the unique sensation of rapid acceleration in almost complete darkness."
As can be seen in the official preview video for Gold Striker below, the first drop of the coaster will be wrapped around the 200-foot Star Tower observation tower. California's Great America initially boasted that this would add a new visual element to both rides. However, this would appear to have been lost now that the section surrounding the tower will be largely enclosed by the tunnel.
Manufactured by Great Coasters International, Gold Striker will stand at 108-feet-tall and will hit a top speed of 53.7 miles per hour at the base of its 103-foot first drop. The ride's circuit will feature a series of banked turns and "airtime" hills, with the design being based on plans that were originally put forward several years ago before being dropped.
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