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SheiKra, America's First B&M Diving Machine

After months of keeping us hanging on the edge, an announcement has finally come from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay on their 2005 attraction.

SheiKra is to be a one-of-a-kind coaster from Molliger & Mabillard (B&M) - by technical features, it would be classified as a Diving Machine, though the course of the rdie goes where no DM has gone before. The vehicles are similar to the eight-across conveyors used on the prototype Oblivion (Alton Towers, 1998) and its mirror-image follow-up, G5(Janfusun Fancyworld, 2000). Capacity per ride will increase by 50%, however, as each of teh conveyors has three rows of seats, rather than two, for a total of 24 riders. A steep 45-degree lift leads to a high U-turn, and a fitst vertical plunge from 200 feet. But no tunnel here, not yet anyway: we'll see it allin broad Florida daylight, from top to bottom. Following a gigantic Immelman - the first inversion on a Diving Machine - then a diagonal turnaround swooping over SheiKra's loading station, and onto a high flat section (block brake? can't tell yet). Next comes the second vertical drop - yes, there are two! This one dives fro 138 feet int a pitch-black hole in the ground, the pops up over there, head into a banked circular turn fronting a scene of African ruins, and intoa "splashdown" run over a lagoon. One more rise and curve to the right sends riders onto the brakes.

The total track-length of SheiKra is3,188 feet. Top speed, reached from the first 200-foot dive, will be 70 mph, making SheiKra the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Florida, and the first in th state to reach 200 feet in height. As the seventh coaster in the park, SheiKra drills home even harder Busch Gardens claim as Florida's Coaster Capital. It will occupy a newly developed "habitat" in the park's Stanleyville section, with a neww 500-seat full-service restuarant integrated into the attraction's landscape. (What a view!) Look for it to plunge into Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in the spring of 2005.

And while we're on the subject of Busch Garden Parks.

We're still in the dark about what Busch Gardens Williamsburg might be building in the section of Octoberfest previously occupied by the departed Wild Maus. And they could keep us in the dark, indefinitely. It's now said that the massive building just constructed will house a multi-sensory dark ride experience with a Medieval theme.

Both articles from ACE News Nov-Dec 2004 issue. The Official Newletter of the American Coaster Enthusiasts.

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