New rollercoaster raises the bar for thrill-seekers

The Smiler, the new rollercoaster with 14 inversions at Alton Towers theme park, Staffordshire.

The Smiler, the new rollercoaster with 14 inversions at Alton Towers theme park, Staffordshire.

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Top theme park Alton Towers is set to unveil the world’s first 14 looping rollercoaster.

And this record-breaking ride surely has an ironic name in The Smiler because that is probably the last thing revellers will feel like doing when they have completed the circuit in just 165 seconds flat!

The metal monster opens to the public next Thursday but there is a chance to see what lies in store on Blue Peter on CBBC today at 5.30pm.

The Fylde’s very own presenter Barney Harwood has been following the construction and together with co-presenter Helen Skelton gives a first-person verdict when he rides it.

The official Guinness World Record for the most loops in a coaster has officially been broken by the Staffordshire theme park, smashing the previous record of 10.

Tom Ibison from Guinness World Records confirmed: “Alton Towers has smashed the record. We’ve seen a number of extreme rollercoasters open, but it’s so exciting to see such a world class attraction here in the UK.”

The Smiler, which has cost £18m, took more than eight months to build and the secret ‘world first’ element was kept under wraps for as long as possible. Not for the faint hearted, the marmalising rollercoaster also features a series of twisted psychological effects including optical illusions, blinding lights and jabbing needles designed to mess with your mind.

The sheer size of The Smiler, which has the equivalent of 10 football pitches of ride-track, dominates the X-Sector area at Alton Towers.

Ride consultant John Wardley said: “The amount of time, money and energy that has been poured into creating this world first attraction is huge. I’ve been working in the industry for over 35 years and this roller coaster really does push the boundaries. Who knows what we will have to do next to top this one!”

You will have to be at least 1.4m (4ft 7in) to take your place in one of the carriages which each carry 16 passengers - four to a row.

There is even a new Smiler-themed bedroom sleepiong up to four people in the Alton Towers Hotel.

Visit www.the-smiler.com for full details about the ride or www.altontowers.com for 2013 opening times, prices and online bookings.