Friday, April 13, 2007


Voting is now closed in round one of the Northeast bracket. For each match-up, the "non-qualified" votes were thrown out and the percentages calculated based on the total number of votes that both coasters received. Winning rides are in bold. Here's how the voting went:

1. Boulder Dash, Lake Compounce, CT (96%)
32. Dragon Coaster, (Rye) Playland, NY (4%)

16. Wildcat, Hersheypark, PA (68%)
17. Roar, Six Flags America, MD (32%)

5. J2, Clementon Lake, NJ (56%)
28. Jack Rabbit, Seabreeze, NY (44%)

9. Twister, Knoebel's, PA (76%)
24. Comet, Hersheypark, PA (24%)

4. Comet, Great Escape, NY (84%)
29. Sky Princess, Dutch Wonderland, PA (16%)

13. Jack Rabbit, Kennywood, PA (73%)
20. Cyclone, Six Flags New England, MA (27%)

10. Silver Comet, Martin's Fantasy Island, NY (74%)
23. Thunderbolt, Six Flags New England, MA (26%)

6. Lightning Racer, Hersheypark, PA (92%)
27. Rollo Coaster, Idlewild, PA (8%)

8. Wild One, Six Flags America, MD (73%)
25. Leap the Dips, Lakemont, PA (27%)

3. Phoenix, Knoebel's, PA (100%)
30. Big Dipper, Camden Park, WV (0%)

14. Yankee Cannonball, Canobie Lake Park, NH (37%)
19. Racer, Kennywood, PA (63%)

12. Excalibur, Funtown/Splashtown USA, ME (57%)
21. Skyliner, Lakemont, PA (43%)

11. Thunderbolt, Kennywood, PA (74%)
22. Thunderhawk, Dorney Park, PA (26%)

7. Cyclone, Astroland, NY (76%)
26. Wildcat, Lake Compounce, CT (24%)

15. Blue Streak, Conneaut Lake Park, PA (60%)
18. Great White, Morey’s Piers, NJ (40%)

2. El Toro, Six Flags Great Adventure, NJ (84%)
31. Cyclone, Williams Grove, PA (16%)


After a wild West bracket, things settled down quite a bit in the Northeast, with only one upset and three near-upsets. The upset came in the 14 vs. 19 seed, where the Canobie Lake Yankee Cannonball fell to the Kennywood Racer by 11 votes (better than a 3:2 margin). The Yankee Cannonball is perhaps the more thrilling ride, but with Kennywood generally considered the better park and the "fun factor" of the Racer, it was enough to pull off the victory.

There were three close calls for top seeds in match-ups as well. First the 15-seeded Conneaut Lake Blue Streak won by just nine votes over the 18-seeded Great White in Wildwood, NJ. 12-seeded Excalibur was in a neck-and-neck race with the 21-seeded Lakemont Skyliner. Early on, an upset was looking possible, if not probable. In the end, though, Excalibur pulled away by five votes and was ultimately preferred by nearly a 3:2 margin. The biggest surprise was the 5-seeded J2 (a Jack Rabbit sequel) having to fight off advances from an original Jack Rabbit, the 28-seeded ride at Seabreeze in NY. It should have been a mismatch, but the high-seeded J2 ended up winning by just four votes. I guess what some call "intense" others think of as "rough," and vote accordingly.

Interestingly, the match-up most likely to yield an upset didn't for the first time so far this tournament. The 16-seeded Hersheypark Wildcat defeated its 17-seeded GCI sibling Roar (east) by 21 votes (better than a 2:1 margin). Both rides have not aged well, but perhaps a general preference for Hersheypark over SFA combined with anticipation for Wildcat's forthcoming new trains made an upset too much of an uphill battle for Roar to handle.

The bracket had its fair share of blowouts, the most impressive of which was the 3-seeded Knoebels Phoenix 44-vote to nothing sweep over the Camden Park Big Dipper. Either there's a lot of anti-Big Dipper sentiment or Phoenix is looking like a strong contender to make it to the Sweet 16 or perhaps even the Elite 8. Other thrashings included 1-seeded Boulder Dash's dismantling of the 32-seeded Rye Dragon Coaster by a 25:1 margin, the 4-seeded Great Escape Comet's better than 5:1 margin of victory over the 29-seeded Sky Princess, the 6-seeded Hersheypark Lightning Racer's thumping of the 27-seeded Idlewild Rollo Coaster by better than a 12:1 margin, and the 2-seeded El Toro's better than 5:1 margin of victory over the SBNO 31-seeded Williams Grove Cyclone.

Other interesting match-ups included a battle between two coasters that originally opened in 1927: the 7-seeded Coney Island Cyclone vs. the 26-seeded Lake Compounce Wildcat. In the early going, it was looking like there might be an upset as the Wildcat was nearly dead even with "the granddaddy of them all." Respect for the Cyclone won the day, in the end, as it actually ended up on top by better than 3:1.

The 11 vs. 22-seed match-up was a battle of Pennsylvania thunder, that being the higher-seeded Kennywood Thunderbolt taking on the lower-seeded Dorney Park Thunderhawk. Unlike the Wildcat, Thunderhawk never even got close in the early going. Thunderbolt won by nearly a 3:1 margin.

Both of Six Flags New England's entries went "one and done" in the tournament (though admittedly, both were underdogs going in). The 13-seeded Jack Rabbit made it a clean sweep for the Kennywoodies downing the 20-seeded SFNE Cyclone and the 10-seeded Silver Comet disposed of the 23-seeded SFNE Thunderbolt. Both victories came by a nearly 3:1 margin.

In the "just-for-fun" bonus question asking which new-for-2007 wood coaster voters were most looking forward to riding, it was really no contest. The Knoebels Flying Turns got more than half the votes (41 in total). Since I'm in the majority on this, I dare say most of you have good taste. In the end, Renegade and Boardwalk Bullet were nearly tied for second place with 17 and 16 votes respectively. One can only wonder how these coasters will fare if I decide to hold another edition of Wood Coaster Madness sometime down the road.... In case you were wondering, five of you were either looking forward to another ride more than any of these three or had no opinion on the issue.

Of note is the fact that eight of the 15 rides in Pennsylvania represented in the bracket have advanced to round two--not bad considering that three of the match-ups put PA rides up against each other. Even more remarkable is the fact that none of the eight rides to advance will face each other in round two, meaning that the final eight rides in the bracket may all be from the state of Pennsylvania. This, alas, is doubtful, as six of the eight rides to advance are underdogs in their round two match-ups. See for yourself in a preview look at the....


1. Boulder Dash, Lake Compounce, CT
16. Wildcat, Hersheypark, PA

5. J2, Clementon Lake, NJ
9. Twister, Knoebel's, PA

4. Comet, Great Escape, NY
13. Jack Rabbit, Kennywood, PA

6. Lightning Racer, Hersheypark, PA
10. Silver Comet, Martin's Fantasy Island, NY

3. Phoenix, Knoebel's, PA
8. Wild One, Six Flags America, MD

12. Excalibur, Funtown/Splashtown USA, ME
19. Racer, Kennywood, PA

7. Cyclone, Astroland, NY
11. Thunderbolt, Kennywood, PA

2. El Toro, Six Flags Great Adventure, NJ
15. Blue Streak, Conneaut Lake Park, PA

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