Review: Steeplechase

Like most of the rides throughout Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s history, the Steeplechase has an interesting story behind its conception and creation. It was based on the original 5-lane Steeplechase at Steeplechase Park in Coney Island, New York, and was opened in 1977 by Grand National-winning horse Red Rum, whose hoof-print can be found near the front of the attraction. Today it’s the only surviving example of a Steeplechase-style roller coaster, with a similar attraction at Knott’s Berry Farm closing down in the 1990s.

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Steeplechase has always been a unique and somewhat unnerving attraction due to the seating arrangements. Because you’re positioned so high above the tracks, every dip and curve is amplified and makes you feel at any moment like you could fall from your horse and do yourself a fairly serious injury. Fortunately you do have seat belts to help ease this a little, though these are easy to forget about as you wind around the twisty track layout. The layout itself is actually very nice, containing Steeplechase-esque jumps (including a water jump) and plenty of banked turns, and because the three tracks remain parallel throughout the ride, you’re always competing against your two opponents, which is fun.

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One thing that I liked about the Steeplechase when we visited this year is that the cars have recently been refitted with new restraints and seating which make them not only more comfortable but also makes them feel safer. It now feels easier to hold on as you’re going around corners, particularly if you’re in the back seat of the two which has previously in my opinion lacked something decent to grab onto (unless you’re particularly fond of the person in front, of course).

Steeplechase isn’t the most comfortable ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, but it’s certainly more so than it has been previously. It’s also not the longest or most thrilling, but I do feel that this unique seating arrangement makes for a different and therefore exciting ride experience, in the same way that the configuration of Avalanche makes that unique and interesting. Who knows how much longer Blackpool’s Steeplechase is going to last, but what I do know is that it’s still popular, still different, and still enjoyable enough to keep it going for at least a few more years.

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Thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of your stay here at Along for the Ride.

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