Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s eagerly-awaited new rollercoaster welcomed its first official riders during a media event on Wednesday, May 23.

The £16.25m ($21.5m) ICON ride is the first new coaster at the UK amusement park for over a decade. Featuring two launch sequences, it was designed by Mack Rides and marks the continuation of a long relationship between the Mack and Thompson families.

A series of previews were held ahead of the media event, when park guests with special ‘boarding tickets’ were given exclusive access. Regular Pleasure Beach visitors were due to enjoy the attraction as from May 25, just in time for the ‘half term’ school holidays.

“I’m so pleased that everyone can finally experience ICON,” says Pleasure Beach managing director Amanda Thompson OBE. “It is a simply stunning ride and I’m delighted with the look and feel of style of it. We have created a totally unique experience confirming our continued commitment to make Blackpool Pleasure Beach one of the world’s greatest amusement parks.”

According to Pleasure Beach deputy managing director Nick Thompson, ICON has been five years in the planning. Featuring a total track length of 1.14km, the attraction sees riders experience forces of up to 4.3G as they are catapulted forward at speeds of up to 80km/h (50mph). The ride, which interacts with other attractions at the Pleasure Beach over 15 times, has a highest point of 27m (88.5ft).

A project profile on ICON will be appear in the July/August issue of Interpark