Six Flags Great America is one of the parks I have been waiting to go to for many years but have never got round to going there. For those of you who have been, you are very lucky as they have some great roller coasters at the park. There is one that stands out in particular to me and that is “Demon”. Demon is a multi-looping roller coaster with an identical twin at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, California. Both coasters opened in 1976 as “Turn of the Century” and they were renamed as Demon in 1980!
Originally when the ride opened in 1976 the tracks and supports were white and it was one of the first rides to have a double corkscrew. Also one of the first to have two air time hills after the first drop. It was also known for objects to fly from the coaster whilst swooping over the air time hills, such as sunglasses, hats, cameras, stuffed animals, and watches. So being part of the coaster staff can’t be too bad at the end of the day.
After the 1979 season, the ride was modified. The airtime hills after the first drop were removed and replaced with two back to back vertical loops and a lighted tunnel. So finding free stuff underneath the coaster came to a stop.
Fake rock formations were constructed around the additional loop and around the first half of the lift hill, with a third formation just before the corkscrews. The whole ride was painted black and was renamed Demon.(Which to be fair, is a much better name) . In addition to the re-design, the theme was changed as well. Fog machines were placed in the tunnels, blood red colored water fell out of the rock formation by the corkscrews and a unique logo was unveiled. The original trains were also modified. A three-dimensional logo was attached to the front car of each train and flames were painted on the sides of the cars.
Whenever someone hears about past accidents on a roller coaster, they immediately have second thoughts about getting onto the ride. On Saturday April 18th, 1998 Twenty riders were left stranded upside down after the black train came to an unexpected halt in the middle of one of the vertical loops. Some riders were stuck for more than 3 hours. Talk about a head rush on vertical loops! Firefighters used a cherry picker truck to release the riders one by one. Investigators concluded that the incident was caused by mechanical failure. A guide wheel that runs along the inside of the track separated from the axle of the last car. A mechanical safety system built into the wheel assembly engaged, preventing the train from derailing. The riders were taken to hospital for checks but no one was seriously injured and was sent home later that evening.
The ride was then opened later on during the same week after finally coming to a conclusion of what the issue was.
Current Coaster Name: Demon
Current Park Name: Six Flags Great America
Previous Ride Name(s): Turn of the Century ( until 1979 )
Location: Santa Clara, California, USA
Type: Steel Looper
Opened: May 29, 1976
Features: 2 Tunnels, Themed
Height: 102 feet
Max Drop: 90 feet
Max Speed: 45mph
Length: 2130 feet