12-13th June 1999

Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Blackpool Pleasure Beach

 

Cathie & John Cook
I’ll try and be brief, though it’ll be hard, because White Knuckle Weekend II was just so packed, it’s difficult to know where to begin.

John and I hadn’t been to BPB for three years, chiefly because (to be brutally frank) we could no longer afford the rocketing prices, especially with regards to the Big One, and so, sadly, had had to turn our backs on the place, old favourite or not. This trip was a way of making it possible again. Thanks to everyone who made it happen; it was great.

Intentional highlights included a fascinating guided tour behind the scenes, taking us into some very small and wondrous spaces, such as the shed which houses the ‘National’s lift motor; and underneath the Derby Racer, which is quite an awesome experience when it’s running full pelt. We were also shown through some of the workshop/office/warehouse/merchandising bits, and then, to our immense interest, were permitted to peer through the doors of P2K, at the steadily maturing structures within. Thank you to our friendly guides and to the various members of staff who took time out to answer our many questions – it was hugely appreciated. As was the bonus ERS on the Avalanche. Super smooth, super fast, we grabbed quite a few rides on it.

The unintentional highlight — Blackpool Pleasure Beach, unlimited. Twenty quid wristbands, at Blackpool! The freedom to ride, and ride, without having to count each rationed ticket expended, and without having to break the bank to do it. It was… heaven, really, and the queues were there but they weren’t large, so you could relax and simply indulge. Nice one BPB, let’s hope it’s an early-season trend that you’ll repeat. The three different methods of payment offer free choice for everyone, at last, even folks like us, who, given the chance, will ride non-stop till we drop.

Talking of drops, we’re probably the last Club members to get around to riding the PlayStation and reconfigured Big One. Here’s what we think of them, anyway.

PlayStation’s launch is tremendous fun. It’s the fact that there’s nothing to tell you exactly when you’re going to go. The operators just let you sit there, in anticipation, and then, whoomph, just when you’re in the middle of catching your breath, you’re blasting upwards, leaving your stomach on the ground. Superb.

The Big One’s turnaround section is one hell of a lot smoother and faster now and I like the increased sideways tilt. The first drop… Well, it took some getting used to. The original drop, it felt, flowed far more naturally, and wasn’t anywhere near as vicious, laterally. Now, you honestly do feel that you’re going to be flung out sideways as the train does that peculiar “shimmy,” as it turns on its way down. I’m not sure if that’s good or not! It feels marginally faster and steeper too. In the balance, I’m just relieved that the coaster hasn’t been spoiled by its amendments.

As to the thoroughly knackering ERS on the Rollercoaster, it was good to have, but, next time, I vote that everyone aged 40 or over gets to stay on the platform! Phew, those stairs!

Oh, and speaking of the Rollercoaster ERS, I’d especially like to thank Martin the medic and his band of merry men, and Jeffrey and the ride operators, who were all so kind and condolent when I hurt my neck. Also, thanks to JR, for injecting his own brand of humorous concern — the Rollercoaster’s fine and doing well. No problem. And last but not least, a special thank you to Mark Cook, for being supportive, gentle, commiserative, and just a pal.

And, generally, thank you to everyone on the Beach — all the cheerful, friendly, helpful people, who did so much to make the weekend what it was: a truly incredible, exhausting, exhilarating experience. What more can one say? Roll on next year!

 

Brian Watson
What a brilliant weekend I had at BPB on the 12th and 13th June. The guided tour, which we had behind the scenes, to see what the public never see, was very interesting.

Many thanks to all the ride operators – it would not have been possible without them. A very big thank you to Mark for all the work he did so that the Club members could all have a good time.

 

John Livesey

White Knuckle Weekend II had a hard act to follow because of the success of the first White Knuckle Weekend last year. I’m pleased to say that in my opinion, Mark Cook and BPB excelled themselves again.

The itinerary was even more action-packed than last year and there were plenty of surprises. We were all told to be back at the Visitor’s Centre for 14:00 on the Saturday for our first surprise. It was announced, to a great cheer, that we were breaking up into four groups for a behind the scenes tour of the park. We managed to get access to the maintenance shed, administration block, catering area and even under the Derby Racer and Flying Machine to view the machinery! We also managed to get a glimpse of Project 2000 undergoing ride testing.

The ERSs were superb, with the surprise extra one on Avalanche being a welcome addition. I managed to get three consecutive rides without leaving my seat and it was a shame more people didn’t take advantage of this.

One thing I did notice was the friendliness of the park staff. They have been slated before in the Club’s annual survey, but I’m pleased to say that during the weekend they were very pleasant and friendly. “JR” mentioned that they had invested in staff training over the last year or so and it certainly seems to be paying off.

I’d like to thank all those involved in the planning and execution of the trip. I had a great time and find myself thinking, “beat that!” I’m definitely looking forward to Oakwood in August!

 

Crystal, Mick & Liz Fryer-Kelsey
Well done all the team who organised the trip to BPB. Thanks to BPB for welcoming us again. We had a really great time. We had 12 continuous rides on the Pepsi Max during the ERS, which was great.

We had about ten rides on the Grand National, which seemed to be running fast, probably due to the early morning rain. The behind the scenes talk was very interesting too.

We are looking forward to the next trip to BPB, as well as other trips this year.

 

Chris & Claire McFarlane
Thanks for another good White Knuckle Weekend, which was most enjoyable. Although sadly, only on the Sunday for us as we were returning from a five day European trip on Saturday. Anyway what we did was most enjoyable.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach as ever put on a good weekend and we would like to thank everyone involved. Looking forward to doing it again next year, but for two days.

 

Anthony Ware
I just wanted to say what a great weekend I had once again at Blackpool. The ERSs were great, especially the Big One on Sunday morning, which was absolutely flying around the track.

Once again, it was the “unexpected extras” that made the weekend special; the additional ERS on Avalanche and of course, the behind the scenes tour.

A big thanks goes out to all the staff at BPB for their courtesy and good humour throughout the visit, especially the security guard who cheerfully let us into the North Entrance building after hours on Saturday night so we could retrieve the coats we left in a locker!

If next year’s trip is just as good I’ll be very happy. If it is even better, I’ll be amazed!

 

Adrienne Smith
Thank you Mark for a super weekend, needless to say we were absolutely knackered by the end, especially after negotiating the spiral stairs of the Rollercoaster far too many times.

I think we are going for the record for how many times on the PlayStation. As well as the ERS on Saturday, on the Sunday we purchased arm bands and went round and round, or rather up and down, until it closed.

I don’t think they will use the armband system again, the staff found it frustrating having to zap you like a packet of cornflakes each time. Also, we heard that the Big One “lost” over a £1000 on the Saturday by being used by arm band wearers and not individually paying people. This is silly because you wouldn’t be riding it that many times if you’d had to pay each time anyway. I wonder if we all had something to do with this!

We hope they do run them again though, as it presented an opportunity to go on the rides you wouldn’t normally try – which must be good for BPB, at least it keeps us off the Big One.

The staff on all the rides were really cheery over the weekend. The operator of the Rollercoaster even waved to us when we were on the Monorail.

The food was excellent, including the burger and chips (I refuse to call them fries) we had at the Rib Shack, and the donuts, as well as the organised meals of Chicken and the Chinese – even if I did get shouted at for being a show off and using chopsticks!

See you all at the next bash.

 

Mark Cook
What a wonderful weekend! For Carole and I it was a return visit to Blackpool Pleasure Beach a mere three weeks after our memorable wedding there, and once again BPB did a fantastic job. As always, nothing was too much trouble, and every member of staff we encountered was excellent.

As well as the superb package of ERS time on no less than five rides, both the shows and the food, the “behind the scenes” tour was fascinating and our guides very entertaining. The underside of the Derby Racer mechanism was just one of the highlights for me.

The introduction of a BPB unlimited riding wristband was a bit of a surprise, but I hope those attending saw it as an addition to a great trip. Certainly, the presence of several ECC members in the top 20 on BPB’s ride activity reports seems to confirm that people had a great time with theirs!

It was good to see lots of “old hands” from previous trips, along with new faces. Regular Cathie Cook managed to crack herself one on the chin during the Roller Coaster ERS (of all things!), but after a quick precautionary trip to hospital on Saturday night, she was back for the Sunday morning ERS on the Big One. I’m not sure whether this proves the injury did or did not affect her judgement!

Once again, my thanks to all the BPB staff and departments who made the weekend complete. Special thanks go to Brian Robinson, without whose organisation the trip would never work; to the new “Slim Jim” Rowland and the operations team for not only running the rides, but having fun along with us too; to Mandy Tattersall for once again finding a mountain of prizes for the Trivia Trail; and to catering, security, medical and all those other “unsung” people who make the park work and keep us all safe and entertained.

As always, sincere thanks to everyone who helped me with this trip. In no particular order they were: James Lawrence, who took over Merchandise from me, and did a great job; Liz, for once again looking after all the trip application forms; Justin for arranging the Top 10 Coasters video, among many other things; and last but not least, my wife Carole for helping me make it through the wedding, buying a new house and preparing for a week’s business trip to France while simultaneously organising the ECC trip!

BPB did such a fantastic job that I have no idea how we’re going to go one better next year, but those wristbands are giving me an idea or two…