Ultimate designer tested ride “held on by rope”

The designer of The Ultimate rollercoaster at Lightwater Valley has revealed that he tested the ride before restraints were fitted, being strapped in with rope.

Robert Stavely was responsible for bringing The Ultimate to North Yorkshire in 1991, when he was the park’s owner.

In a revealing interview with the park’s current operators, he said: “I dared not put anyone else on that rollercoaster until I firstly had been on it.

“I was held on by rope, I just said ‘rope me on it, just wrap it round me so I can’t fall off the thing’.”

Stavely also revealed that he and his construction team were not aware that they were building what would be the longest rollercoaster in the world – until well into the project.

He said: “You don’t go out to try and win things, but when we were out doing it someone said to me ‘I bet there isn’t a rollercoaster anything like as big as this’.

“One person was sent into Ripon to go and buy the Guinness Book of Records, we looked up what was the longest rollercoaster in the world and I knew immediately because I’d ordered the track.”

The ride was officially opened by boxer Frank Bruno in July 1991.