Its origins began in rumours, followed by unconfirmed reports, before eventually moving to official confirmation.
But even when it was confirmed by Flamingo Land themselves, the fact that a 10-inversion rollercoaster was coming to the park was a surprise to many.
But despite a backstory of being a decade-plus-old unwanted ride held in storage for years, Sik’s arrival in this part of North Yorkshire still represents a major enhancement of the UK rollercoaster scene.
Painted throughout in various tones of grey – some of which appear semi-luminescent in certain angles – Sik twisted track is a striking new feature visible as you both approach and enter Flamingo Land’s gates.
The ride’s artwork is a mixture of the modern and classic, fashion branding from the sponsoring clothing firm SikSilk, combined with sweeping grey-toned Union Flag livery.
The ride’s name has of course attracted considerable discussion, but the rollercoaster itself has largely been rated highly by rollercoaster enthusiasts since it opened back in the summer.
Both entry and exit are through the SikSilk-based gift shop, and as you enter the indoor station building millennium-era dance and trance music plays throughout.
Flashes of colour in the various draped flags that sit above the train’s station give something of a nightclub feel. It is a new and different vibe for Flamingo Land.
At face value, the ride is simply a slightly updated version of Thorpe Park’s Colossus, i.e., a 10-inversion rollercoaster from manufacturers Intamin.
It is impossible to refrain from comparisons to Thorpe Park’s ride, which opened 20 years ago as a world record holder with the most inversions on a rollercoaster.
But the first – and probably key – difference between Sik and the Colossus you will experience are Sik’s lap-bar style restraints, which feel liberating – even when you are fastened into the train.
Operations and loading are fairly fast and seamless for the most part, and that extends to the lift hill as you are smoothly and rapidly – again compared to you-know-what – propelled into the ascent.
As the train reaches the top, the speed of the lift gives an effective kick as the train falls rapidly into the swooping first drop – the profile of which is the second key difference to Intamin’s first-generation Multi Inversion Coaster.
The vertical loop is followed by the airtime hill, which remains one of Colossus’s best features. Here though it is Thorpe Park’s ride that remains ahead of the competition.
There feels to be less airtime on Sik’s hill, regardless of where you happen to be sitting on the train.
You also get slightly wet by the high levels of mist effects present in the two under-cover sections of both the entry and exit of the cobra roll track feature.
Vibration and pace
By now there is considerable vibration from the train. This is present throughout all of the high-speed elements of the track.
This vibration can’t justifiably be described as roughness, but it does take away from the experience a little.
The cobra roll and corkscrews are where the vibration is most noticeable, particularly towards the back of the train and when sitting above a wheel.
With the over-shoulder restraints and lower lateral movement than on the older models, there is no headbanging or real discomfort here.
The pace throughout feels a little faster than Colossus, including the final inversion run of heartline rolls. These apply some pressure to your legs with this restraint design, but again it isn’t overbearing.
As the train swoops around the landscaped pond, water jets may follow the train for effect, but these don’t always work.
The final inversion is followed by a final dose of mist, and as the train enters the station, you’re likely to be left with a smile on your face.
Sik is a major investment for Flamingo Land. If its reported £18 million construction cost is accurate, then it compares to some of the biggest ride investments in the UK.
While it is an off-the-shelf model rollercoaster, it has taken the mantle of being by far the best rollercoaster in the park.
Sik’s arrival demonstrates that Flamingo Land’s owners see themselves as among the big-time players in the UK theme park industry.
They’ve successfully raised the bar of the park with what is a solid investment.
Flamingo Land is open until 30 October this year.