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Manufacturers

Nearly all of the time, Thorpe Park outsources the manufacturing of a new ride to the experts. The majority of rides within the Park today were designed and created by 12 main manufacturers (SAW Alive being the only recent addition to have been done in-house).

Who are these companies? Here we profile the people behind the thrills:

Fabbri Group

Manufacturer Name: Bertazzon 3B SRL
Based: Italy
Rides at Thorpe Park: King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems
Official Website: Bertazzon

Other Info: Bertazzon has been around since 1951, manufacturing amusement equipment for parks and showmen all over the world. Based in Italy, the company is well known for its range of Venetian merry-go-rounds, but also manufactures bumper cars (see King Pig's!), swing carousels (a.k.a. wave swingers/chair-o-planes), and a small selection of flat rides (such as the Matterhorn, and Musik Express).


Bolliger & Mabillard

Manufacturer Name: Bolliger and Mabillard Consulting Engineers
Based: Switzerland
Rides at Thorpe Park: Nemesis Inferno, The Swarm
Official Website: B & M

Other Info: Walter Bolliger and Claude Mabillard are the eponymous founders of Bolliger and Mabillard. The pair were originally involved with Intamin AG, but split off and became the company that is known for quality in the coaster world today. Formed in 1990, B&M are responsible for the steel freeform and inverted coaster (Nemesis Inferno is an example of the latter).

B&M are incredibly detailed in what they do - their perfectionism means that ride reliability and lifespan is usually superb. They maintain that their coasters always work first time, and have yet to be proved wrong. Look at any "Top 10" list of steel roller coasters, and it will be dominated by B&M machines (along with Intamin AG). Perhaps B&M's finest work is to be found at Alton Towers, in the form of Nemesis. It was 15 years old in 2009, and it is still considered one of the best roller coasters in existence today.


Fabbri Group

Manufacturer Name: Fabbri Group
Based: Italy
Rides at Thorpe Park: Detonator, Quantum
Official Website: Fabbri Group

Other Info: The Fabbri Group came about because of a man called Romolo Fabbri, who after WW2 created an attraction using surplus war material. His brother took the attraction, "Telecombat", around the Italian fairs, and by the 70's, Romolo had broadened his horizons and took his rides to Europe. Other companies began to join Mr. Fabbri, and this is became the Fabbri Group.

Fabbri make thrill rides - not roller coasters. Although their relaibility and build quality has in the past been questionable, when they get it right (Detonator), Fabbri rides are up there with the best.


Gerstlauer

Manufacturer Name: Gerstlauer Amusement Rides GMBH
Based: Germany
Rides at Thorpe Park: SAW - The Ride
Official Website: Gerstlauer

Other Info: Gerstlauer was founded in 1982 by Hubert Gerstlauer, a former senior manager of the famous Anton Schwarzkopf company. Today, Gerstlauer is a well-known, highly-esteemed German designer and manufacturer of amusement rides, including coasters, giant wheels, dark rides, wooden and steel coaster trains and flat rides.

Perhaps cheaper than other manufacturers, Gerstlauer offer a lot of bang for your buck. Their Eurofighter model (SAW - The Ride) has been nothing short of a runaway success, with over 10 orders placed within 5 years of launching the ride type. Alton Towers have also invested heavily in Gerstlauer with their "Infinity" 14-looping coaster, The Smiler.


Hopkins

Manufacturer Name: Hopkins Rides
Based: USA
Rides at Thorpe Park: Tidal Wave
Official Website: Hopkins
Other Info: Hopkins create water rides. Their three main ride types are Shoot the Chute (Tidal Wave is one), Flume Ride and River Raft Ride. Hopkins are the leading company in the world to focus exclusively on water attractions, and have now been manufacturing water rides for over 30 years.

HUSS

Manufacturer Name: HUSS Maschinenfabrik
Based: Germany
Rides at Thorpe Park: Zodiac
Official Website: HUSS

Other Info: HUSS began in 1919 in Germany, and originally manufactured ship equipment. 50 years later, HUSS moved from shipping to manufacturing its first amusement park ride, and it was in this industry that the company took off.

Today, HUSS is a market leader when it comes to the manufacture and distribution of rides for Theme Parks, and particularly for fairs. HUSS have a reputation for being reliable and innovative, and today offer a plethora of flat rides for showmen and Park owners alike.


Intamin AG

Manufacturer Name: Intamin AG
Based: Switzerland

Rides at Thorpe Park: Colossus, Ribena Rumba Rapids, Stealth

Official Website: Intamin AG

Other Info: Intamin really come out ahead of the competition. They are in the manufacturing space for not only coasters and water rides, but for a wide range of thrill rides too. Because of this large protfolio, Intamin are split into Intamin AG (coasters) and Intamin Ride Trade (flat rides). Intamin have broken many records with their innovative rides, including creating the fastest coaster and the coaster with the most inversions. The former is Formula Rossa at Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi, which reaches speeds of 150mph, and Stealth is a similar ride type. The latter is Thorpe Park's very own Colossus.

Intamin also created the very first River Rapids Ride - Ribena Rumba Rapids is one of them. Be sure to watch Intamin over the coming years - they are one the most exciting manufacturers of our time!


KMG

Manufacturer Name: Kermis Machinebouw Gaasendam
Based: Holland
Rides at Thorpe Park: Vortex
Official Website: KMG
Other Info: KMG make thrill rides, mostly for fairs, but do make permanent versions for Parks too. Founded in 1991, over 150 KMG rides are operated today, and on average, 13-14 rides are created and distributed by the KMG factory each year. Their "Afterburner" ride is one of their finest flat rides, and Vortex is a good example.

Mack Rides

Manufacturer Name: Mack Rides
Based: Germany
Rides at Thorpe Park: Logger's Leap, Rocky Express, Storm in a Teacup
Official Website: Mack

Other Info: Mack have a long history. The company was founded by Paul Mack in 1780, who manufactured horse wagons and carriages. It wasn't until 140 years later that Mack started to develop amusement rides. Mack have a diverse portfolio, and today manufacture coasters, water rides and thrill rides.

In 1975, Franz Mack opened Europa Park in Germany as a showcase for Mack's rides. Europa Park is today one of the most admired Theme Parks in Europe, and partly exists just to showcase what Mack rides are capable of. Most recently, Mack unveiled their version of the launched coaster at Europa Park, Blue Fire. It's a tremendous ride, and Europa Park is well worth a visit!


Mondial

Manufacturer Name: Mondial Rides
Based: Netherlands
Rides at Thorpe Park: Samurai
Official Website: Mondial

Other Info: Mondial was founded in 1987, and quickly established itself as a quality manufacturer of rides for Fairs and Amusement Parks. It's success was accelerated when the Mondial Giant Wheel was produced, and from there many well known flat rides came about, such as the Sky Flyer, Shake, Roll Over, Swinger, Revolution and Top Scan (Samurai).

Mondial rides are more likely to be found in travelling fairs and carnivals over Theme Parks, as most of them are transportable - including Samurai. They carry an impressive reputation in the industry, and their rides are more often than not worth queueing for.


S&S

Manufacturer Name: S&S Power, Inc
Based: USA
Rides at Thorpe Park: Slammer, Rush
Official Website: S&S Power

Other Info: "The world's leading manufacturer of vertical amusement rides". Fronted by Stan Checketts, an incredibly enthusiastic adrenaline-junkie, S&S Power made it's debut in the amusement industry in 1989 and has grown ever since. In fact, S&S is now almost considered on a par with B&M, Intamin and Vekoma because of their innovative ride ideas and great reputation. Always looking to push the boundaries (Slammer and Rush are both great examples of this), S&S build unqiue flat thrill rides and coasters, including the first 4D coaster.

S&S's position was consolidated in 2003, when the company bought out Arrow Dynamics, who were forced into bankruptcy. Arrow made many of today's great coasters and rides. S&S look set to continue this trend.


Vekoma

Manufacturer Name: Vekoma Rides Manufacturing
Based: The Netherlands
Rides at Thorpe Park: Mr Monkey's Banana Ride, X:\ No Way Out
Official Website: Vekoma

Other Info: Vekoma was founded in 1926 by Hendrik Op het Veld in Vlodrop as "King of the Fields". He manufactured farming tools, and in 1948 the company name was changed to "First Dutch Steel Plough and Pumps Factory". The farming industry diminished, and so they turned their attentions to mining in the 1950s, with the name "Machinefabriek Vekoma". In 1961, Vekoma went into the petrochemical industry - and was particularly strong at building industrial heaters.

In yet another change of direction in 1967, Vekoma went into the amusement industry, first manufacturing a Giant Wheel. By 1983, Vekoma had moved into roller coaster manufacture, and from here the company's reputation grew. Vekoma today do everything; coasters, water rides, people movement and thrill rides. Even now, it is still a family run business. Vekoma rides have a reputation for being more rough than others (X:\ No Way Out is a case in point), but you can't argue with the sheer number of rides the company has installed in its history.


WhiteWater West

Manufacturer Name: Whitewater West Industries
Based: Canada
Rides at Thorpe Park: Storm Surge
Official Website: Whitewater West
Other Info: Whitewater West create water rides - for swimming pools and complexes, and dry rides for amusement parks. It was founded in 1981 and today offers the industry's largest selection of water rides, including the water coaster and AquaLoop, a near-vertical looping water slide!

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