Of all the coasters I rode this year, two stood out, probably because I rode each of them for the first time and both were remarkable. Both are RMC makeovers; I can’t say enough about how good this company is in transforming wooden coasters into hybrids with new thrill elements. This was a tough call, as both coasters provided a great ride experience. It came down to Iron Rattler and New Texas Giant.
There are distinct similarities in that both feature RMC’s signature red I-Box track and several overbanked turns. Iron Rattler is a terrain coaster, built over a quarry, and the feeling of freedom in racing over the terrain is a breath of fresh air. The initial drop and barrel roll are awesome. New Texas Giant, on the other hand, is contained within a more constricted area and doesn’t feature any inversions. That being said, NTG affords a wild ride experience with several overbanked turns. It also offers the element of surprise, as it’s impossible to see exactly what’s coming up next, even when you have some familiarity with the ride. Even after repeated rides I was taken by surprise when the train enters the first of two tunnels. The second tunnel is a highlight of the ride, as it’s pitch black and the train drops while in the tunnel. Both coasters are so good that I really couldn’t make up my mind as to which was better, so this year it ends in a tie.