11-12th July 1998

Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Blackpool Pleasure Beach

 

David & Sue Dowson

Undeterred by the forecast of rain, about 70 enthusiasts arrived at Coasters diner for the White Knuckle Weekend for a welcome coffee before the serious riding began. Strong winds, but thankfully no rain, were causing difficulties for the Big One. Luckily the Steeplechase was also running to give us the opportunity of riding another coaster whilst the operators juggled sandbags and riders to try to keep the Big One operating.

The first ride on the Big One went OK, but the train was slow over the hills. On the next ride we were asked not to put our arms in the air. This was a first for me and it felt odd riding with all in the train having their hands down, but we would never have been forgiven had the train stalled and valleyed out. More rides followed and the  Big One was becoming quicker. Then it was off to explore the rest of Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

The first stop had to be the Big Dipper to offer our support to Richard Rodriguez on day 25 of his marathon. Following this, we rode Playstation, Grand National, Rollercoaster, Space Invader and Revolution before a very nice lunch at Coasters where we were joined by JR and Keith.

After lunch we deserted the Pleasure Beach and went down to South Pier for a ride on the new Crazy Mouse. At £1.60 a ride, this is very good value for Blackpool, but I suspect that this may change depending on the season. It is well worth a look if you get the opportunity. The rest of the afternoon was spent at the Pleasure Beach.

BPB had arranged for a second train to be put on for the Big Dipper ERS, with Richard continuing his marathon. I had the pleasure to sit next to him for one ride, a small claim to fame but one that I am very proud of. The ERS was fantastic with just enough time to get off the train at the end of a ride and run around and get back on before the next train left the station. I lost count of the number of rides I had. My hat really goes off to Richard, it takes something very special to be able to attempt the record.

Following the ERS it was off to the Ice Show for a very enjoyable evening. However, I found it difficult to get images of Amanda Thompson bawling at the skaters on the “Pleasure Beach” television programme out of my mind. It was however, an excellent show.

After the good weather on Saturday, Sunday was wet. We arrived for coffee, and it was raining heavily, and it continued to rain throughout the ERS. BPB again surpassed themselves and arranged for the Grand National to be operating in addition to the Playstation. This meant that there were enough seats between the ‘National and Playstation to allow uninterrupted riding. There is nothing like the feeling of riding the ‘National when it is flying, holding hands on the lift hill, hands in the air on the drops, slapping hands on the corners, and racing side-by-side to the finishing post.

A return to Playstation for the last ten minutes of the ERS when most people were on the ‘National meant that continuous riding was available, not even pausing to swap seats. It was fantastic. All too soon the ERS was over and we unfortunately had to leave the Pleasure Beach as we needed to get back early.

The weekend was fantastic, I have given up saying “Beat that” but every trip just seems to get better. Many thanks to Mark for the enormous amount of organisation that must have gone into it. Also many thanks to JR, Keith and all at BPB who despite the weather, did a fantastic job. It is appreciated.

 

Elizabeth & Nigel Peters

Many thanks to Mark, Chris and all the staff at Blackpool Pleasure Beach who made the White Knuckle Weekend, in the words of Wallace and Gromit, “A Grand Day Out.”

The whole weekend, from start to finish, just seemed to get better and better and the staff at BPB seemed to fall over themselves to make sure of that. From the first surprise of the Steeplechase ERS to the last surprise of the Grand National ERS and Mystique Show tickets, it could not have been bettered.

Riding the Grand National on Sunday morning in the rain may not seem like fun to some, but to those members present it caused great fun and laughter. I’ll reserve judgement on the three car trains on the ‘National. For those who like riding the back seat, it may well have lost its sting, but the ride does seem a lot faster and a bit smoother.

What we did enjoy was the amount of free time, no pressure to go to functions. We also enjoyed the fact that there were not too many of us. It made it much friendlier and gave us more time on the rides. It did seem strange that so many people got the answer correctly in the quiz! Could it be that we all spent our time ‘feverishly’ looking for the answers, or did a wee bit of cheating take place?!

To say we enjoyed it is an understatement, I think all the members on the day expressed that fact. I know it would be hard, but try and keep the numbers attending around that mark – and reserve our place for next year’s trip now.

 

Kevin Mee

Well I have just arrived back home after a great weekend with the Club. It was the best trip I have been on and the feedback from the members I spoke to was very positive.

 

Steve Brett & Martin Robertson

Just a quick note to say thanks for a great weekend.

Martin and I were on our first ECC trip, obviously not knowing how the event was going to work, it almost seemed scary turning up at Coasters Diner on the Saturday morning thinking everyone will know everyone else (gooseberry is the thought that springs to mind!). Needless to say we were totally wrong… Excellent organisation, great company, BPB were superb with the rides, catering and the staff were first class.

Thanks once again to Mark and the other ECC organisers and members for making this trip so memorable for us mere novices.

 

Chris McFarlane

What a good event the White Knuckle Weekend at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (BPB) was. The staff at BPB seemed to be bending over backwards to accommodate us; two double ERS’s, two trains on the Big Dipper (which also had the exclusive ride time doubled to one hour) and the bonus Mystique show tickets.

I would like to thank everyone involved in the event at the Club and a big thank you to all at Blackpool Pleasure Beach for their tremendous hospitality. I’m certainly looking forward to doing it all again next year…

 

Graham Walton

Just a short note to thank Mark for organising a fantastic weekend in Blackpool. My mother and I really appreciate the time and effort put into it that made it such a success. The ERS’s were superb and it was great to meet Richard Rodriguez on the Big Dipper who turned out to be a really great guy.

I would like to pass on my thanks to BPB for their superb hospitality and generosity shown to us over the weekend – and especially for the cracking Hot Ice Show. Special thanks to Jim Rowland (JR) for picking my mothers number in the prize draw. We are now proud owners of the Pepsi Max card standup.

Once again thank you all very much and we hope to see you again on the next UK trip – assuming Sheffield Wednesday aren’t playing at home the same weekend!

 

Chris Penn

Thanks for a brilliant weekend. Saturday, what a start – an ERS on the Pepsi Max Big One, with the added bonus of seeing Richard Rodriguez on the Big Dipper, what an ERS he’s having! (Ed: has had!) After some free time to enjoy the park, we all met for lunch, which was excellent on both days. The ERS on the Big Dipper was great, especially with the chance to meet Richard in person.

Sunday, weather, raining but who cares, we have an ERS on Playstation and an extra ERS on the Grand National running simultaneously, magic! What a weekend, I can’t wait until next year’s.

Thanks to all at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Mark Cook for organising the trip.

 

John Livesey

I’d never been on a trip before, so I was a little apprehensive about meeting so many coaster enthusiasts. Needless to say the apprehension soon faded when I discovered what a really friendly bunch of people they all were.

At 9:00am we had our first ERS, a solid hour on the Big One. The ride ops seemed to be in good form considering the early hour and there was much banter between them and us.

Taking advantage of the light crowds in the morning, I sneaked two goes on Playstation as the queues for this ride can get quite long and slow moving. Needless to say it was as good as ever. The rest of the morning was spent riding BPB’s other excellent rides until I lost my glasses on either the Revolution or Big Dipper.

We all descended on Coasters for lunch and we were graced with the presence of “JR” and Keith Allen of the “Pleasure Beach” television series fame. Keith spent 10 or 15 minutes at our table and I managed to quiz him about coming work on the Big One this winter. Mark Cook also announced, to great cheers, that JR and Keith were running the Grand National for us, as well as the Playstation for Sunday morning’s ERS. The lunch time meal was excellent and there was a real atmosphere of friendship and camaraderie.

After lunch was more free time. The Club reconvened at the Big Dipper entrance at 6:00pm, because there was a rumour that the Big Dipper ERS was going to start early. The rumour proved correct because at 6:15pm Keith turned up and closed the ride to the general public. The ride ops put the second train on and we were away! The ERS was only supposed to last 30 minutes, but it ended up being a whole hour.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make the Sunday due to a number of things. From all accounts it was excellent and I’m disappointed that I couldn’t make it.

Overall it was the best coastering weekend I’ve ever had. I take my hat off to Mark for organising such an excellent trip. I’d also like to thank JR and Keith for being superb hosts, they really pulled all the stops out for us on this trip. I just hope that it’ll become an annual event now.

 

Anthony Ware

Just a note to say a big thank you to everyone involved with organising the Blackpool Pleasure Beach trip last weekend. The ERS’s were amazing, especially getting double time on the Big Dipper and the unexpected opening of both the Steeplechase and the Grand National just for us. I did feel sorry for the staff who got drenched in the Sunday morning rain at our expense, but if it is any consolation, I had a brilliant time!

The inclusion of the food, half price “A” ride sheets and the show tickets (including Pasaje Del Terror which was enormous fun) made the weekend remarkable value. I applaud all the management and staff at BPB for making a very memorable two days. Now when can we go again?

 

Mark Cook

Did we have a great time or what? As trip organiser for White Knuckle Weekend, I’m probably not allowed to say this, but I’m going to anyway: That was the best coaster trip I’ve ever been on! Of course, I did set out to make a trip that I would want to go on myself – loads of rides on loads of coasters – what else could you want? I had a great time!

As always, some thanks are due (in no particular order) to: Liz, for sorting out all those trip payments and application forms; to Jean-Marc for coming up with a stunning design for the trip T-shirts at short notice; to Andy Spence for helping with the T-shirt printing; to Chris McFarlane, for setting up the initial negotiations with BPB; and last, but not least, my girlfriend Carole for helping out in so many ways during the preparations.

But the biggest thanks have to go to all those people at BPB who made the weekend something I’ll remember for a long time to come – Brian Robinson for organising the whole thing so well; Jim Rowland and Keith Allen and their staff for running the rides and for the Pasaje del Terror tickets; Peggy Chadwick and her staff for doing the catering; Mandy Tattersall for the trivia trail prizes; and Geoffrey Thompson for inviting us back to do it all again next year. Everyone at BPB worked very hard to make it a special trip for us, and it really showed.

Thanks to everybody for coming. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. And in answer to all those people who asked, “can we do it all over again next year?”. You betcha! Only next time we’ll make it even better. How? Just wait and see…

 

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