John Wardley ‘bowing out gracefully’

John WardleyRetiring ride designer John Wardley has said that he feels it is time to ‘bow out gracefully’, in an interview with the Birmingham Mail newspaper.

Speaking ahead of the launch of his final rollercoaster The Smiler, he said that it was time for other people to take over his role.

“It is time for me to hand over to someone else, nobody wants an old fart getting in the way. It is time to bow out gracefully,” he said.

“I was involved in designing the track for the new coaster but the creation and the development were done by Candy Holland and her team. It is their vision.

“The rollercoaster design team is brilliant, it is in safe hands. It’s up to the next generation to decide where rollercoasters go next and I will be watching and riding with interest.

“I am very proud of what I have achieved at Alton Towers and memories of creating Nemesis and riding it for the first time will live with me until the day I die.”

The 62-year-old admitted that he may be open to involvement with projects in the future.

He said: “I love rollercoasters and they have been my life, now my contractual agreements are all finished. But if the phone ever rings and somebody wants my help designing a ride, who knows.”

Earlier this week it was confirmed that The Smiler is to be the world’s first 14-inversion rollercoaster.

It is expected to open to the public on 18 May, but a final date has not yet been confirmed by Alton Towers.