Wicksteed invests in major ride

The Clown Coaster, which will open at Wicksteed Park in October
The Clown Coaster, which will open at Wicksteed Park in October

As Wicksteed Park prepares for its 90th summer season, the amusement park has invested in a new rollercoaster to keep crowds coming all year round.

The Evening Telegraph can exclusively reveal the park is splashing out £150,000 on the new “Clown Coaster”, which managers expect will be its number two attraction when it opens at Halloween.

Managing director John Roberts said: “Younger children will absolutely love it.”

And families looking for a new attraction need not wait until October as the Kettering park’s summer season will open this Saturday with another new feature - an ice rink.

Located in the dome at the fairground area which used to house the laser tag, the imitation rink will provide all the glide of real ice but without the cold.

Mr Roberts said: “I’m really excited. I have been on the synthetic ice and it’s just like real ice except you don’t get cold and wet when you fall over.”

He said the surface was 90 per cent as fast as real ice.

The laser tag will re-open in the Coronation Hall in a few weeks.

The new clown-themed junior rollercoaster, which is about the same size as the park’s Ladybird Coaster, was previously used at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Wicksteed bought it for a bargain price of £20,000, but will spend £130,000 refurbishing it before a grand unveiling during the October half-term break.

Operations manager Michael Bush said: “The big roller coaster will always be number one – we take over 200,000 people a season on that – but the Clown Coaster will be a close second or third.”

Situated in the fairground area, the Clown Coaster will be the park’s only rollercoaster to open all year. Both the big roller coaster and the Ladybird Coaster close with all of the arena rides at the end of the summer.

Mr Roberts hopes to boost the park as a year-round destination and has plans to turn the arcade into a winter attraction with indoor facilities.

Mr Roberts said: “It’s a lovely place to come in the summer. There’s nowhere nicer to come to on a nice day.

“But when it comes to October and the nights draw in we have struggled to know what we can put in to get people in on half term.”

The park, which opened on May 14, 1921, will celebrate different decades of its 90-year history each month this summer.

Celebrations will kick-off with a regatta on May 14 and 15. Boating clubs are invited to sail on the lake as they did at the park’s opening.

Mother-of-two Fay Freeman, of St Luke’s Close, Kettering, said: “Anything that improves the park is good.”

The Evening Telegraph has found a video of the Clown Coaster on Youtube. Visit our website for a link.