An Underwhelming Ride on the U.S.’s only Diving Machine
I rode the highly anticipated SheiKra the Monday after it opened in May of 2005. Coaster designers, B&M have finally graced the U.S. with one of their inventive Diving Machines. These coasters offer an unprecedented 90 degree drop. If that wasn’t enough, there are brakes at the crest of these drops that hold riders as they stare down at the ground far below them. Busch parks are always top notch when it comes to theming and SheiKra is no exception. A “sheikra” is a species of African hawk known to dive straight down for its prey.
Overall, I have to say SheiKra didn’t live up to the hype. It reminded my of Superman Ultimate Flight at SFoGA (another first generation B&M coaster) in terms of its short length. You get two ultra-steep drops, (neither of which were all that challenging) but that’s about it. The highlight of the ride for me was the extreme Immelman where the track goes straight up for what feels like a long time before inverting and finishing the maneuver. Very cool.
The long tunnel, water splash, and brakes at the top of the drops were all cool, but for me didn’t add up to anything all that special. Personally, I’d prefer Apollo’s Chariot’s first drop over this one. Make this ride 300 feet tall and then maybe the view would’ve been a little more daunting. Overall, SheiKra’s no masterpiece, but is still an experience. Most of the 7 points here are for the fact that it’s a B&M ride, which means it’s going to be smooth, fast, comfortable, and innovative. Another couple points go to the sick Immelman, the watchability of the ride (seeing screaming people held 200 feet in the air) and the fact it’s the first of it’s kind in America. I caught a lot of flack for my rating by the coaster geeks out there, but what can I say. I’m a veteran. It all comes down to the ride and this one was just good. Final Rating – 7.5 (Good-Approaching Great)
So how good is a 7.5? Check out my rating system to find out.
SheiKra is rated ‘IN’ for Intense. It’s a 4 out of 5 on my Thrill Scale for of its steep drop, height, and speed.
What’s Your Take?
Have you ridden SheiKra? What’d you think? Leave a comment below.