Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The UK's first double launch rollercoaster: Dare to Ride.

Theme ParkBlackpool Pleasure Beach
Opened25 May 2018
ManufacturerMack Rides
ModelLaunch Coaster
Height89 ft
Length3750 ft
Max Speed53 mph
Duration2¾ minutes
Icon's Immelmann loop

Icon's Immelmann loop

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is widely known for its collection of rollercoasters, which makes it all the more surprising that, when Icon opened in 2018, it had been twenty four years since a new rollercoaster had been built at the park.

Icon is a multi-launch rollercoaster from Mack Rides and occupies a site towards the centre of the Pleasure Beach. It is almost 90 feet tall and reaches a maximum speed of 53 miles per hour as its trains cruise through the 3750ft of track, utilising two LSM (linear synchronous motor) launches.

The ride starts with the train moving slowly out of the station building and onto the first LSM launch track. This launches the train at 50mph through a mist-filled tunnel and up and over a top hat element, plunging downwards through the Big One's lift hill. Via a series of banked turns which interact with both Steeplechase and the Big Dipper, the train turns back toward the station and transitions through Icon's only inversion, an inline twist, before hitting the second LSM launch. This launch track accelerates the train to its maximum 53mph speed, sending it up and through a non-inverting immelmann loop. More banked turns and airtime hills follow before the train finally comes to rest on the brake run.

An Icon train glistening in the sunshine

An Icon train glistening in the sunshine

While Icon looks beautiful, its design focus on family-appeal leaves it lacking any real punch or stand out moments. Given it is the same Mack Launch Coaster model as coasters including Blue Fire and Helix, it is rather disappointing. Don't get me wrong: it's still a very smooth, enjoyable ride, but there's nothing truly special that you might expect.

The mid-course inversion is most confusing: it feels unnecessary and awkwardly placed. If Blackpool had wanted a rollercoaster with inversions, they should have gone for several of them and created something more thrilling. As it stands, it feels like Icon would have been better without the inline twist.

It is easy to sound overly-critical. Icon is, after all, still a fantastic and much-welcome addition to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Given the queues, it is clearly popular with the public too. Compared to some of Blackpool's other ageing fleet of rollercoasters, it is much more smooth and re-rideable.

So why moan then? Arguably the enthusiast community probably shouldn't, although by the same token it's easy to feel a little short-changed by the experience. It is, though, a must-do ride during a visit to the Pleasure Beach, so perhaps it at least in-part lives up to being the Icon for the park which its name suggests.

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