The genius behind The Racer was how the designers of Kings Island, during its inception, actually reworked the well- established Shooting Star at Coney Island, near Cincinnati, into the new theme park's ride package. What they got with the new twin-tracked Racer was the equivalent of two Shooting Stars! While the original would be torn down, the new Racer was developed with similar elevations and profiles, and would be essentially complete before the end of 1971. It was also only the second wooden racing coaster to be built in the world since the late 1930s, and the first racing coaster ever with an out and back design. It also yielded a higher capacity for a thirsty public, looking for new thrills.
Most likely the publicity from this one ride, backed by Taft Broadcasting and its affiliates, was the reason it received credit for the roller coaster renaissance of the 1970s. In actuality it was just one of many wonderful creations from John Allen and the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, who helped put the wood coaster back on the map heading into the mid-1970s. Today it remains one of the parks most beloved attractions and a must-ride for any true coaster enthusiast.
• Richard Munch, Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Racing coasters should, first and foremost, RACE throughout the ride circuit—that's what I remember the Kings Island Red and Blue Racer doing during the early 1980's. THEN, KI upped the ante' when they (temporarily) flipped the direction of the train on one side, but STILL ran The Racer as a racing coaster. Looking at the expressions on the faces of the riders heading in the opposite direction of travel is a priceless memory for me.
Another grand memory I have is trying to ride The Racer at park closing. Kings Island would have a daily fireworks display at closing which was shot off near The Racer turn-around. If you were in line, you could ride while the fireworks were exploding and vividly painting the sky overhead.
• Ron Mazur, Bethel Park, Pennsylvania
While the Kings Island Racer doesn't show up quite as early in my roller coaster history as the Cedar Point Blue Streak, my affection for both these classic John Allen classic wooden roller coasters is very strong. They have a look and feel from a different era in roller coasters and amusement parks. Each ride has had to change with the times, but they remain relevant. The Racer's graceful lines and sensual "Y" split turn-a-round used to dominate the horizon of Kings Island's Coney Mall. Now it is nearly lost among the clutter of newer attractions. Yet The Racer still provides a speedy trip out and back with a "red" or a "blue" winner every ride! What fun!"!
• Alan Shick, Columbus, Ohio
The Racer is not only a huge part of roller coaster history (due to it being credited for starting the coaster boom in the 70's), but it's a fun ride that I have come to appreciate more and more as the years go by. Sure, the years the coaster had one side running backwards were a hoot, and it may have lost a couple hills near at the end of its layout in the ‘90s, but it still holds its own. Even the Brady Bunch loved riding it! What can you say to that?
• Sean Flaharty, Grove City, Ohio
A great John Allen coaster. I love the split drops where the trains separate. I love the current classic white structure and the dark track. I prefer both trains to face forward rather than having a backwards train.