The Grand National
Named after the famous race held at Aintree each year, the roller-coaster ride, The Grand National takes the theme of this national event and incorporates it into a unique roller-coaster experience. Build in 1935, it embodies the sentiment of the time, with its art deco features and wooden construction, the essence of the ride is that two carriages ride side by side around a racing track.
Only three coasters survive that were build by Charles Paige, who is famous for the Mobius Loop series of roller-coasters. Essentially, Mobius Loop coasters race side by side or have a duel, and The Grand National is the only one in all of Eurasia, and this makes it a must do it ride when you visit Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach Resort.
To mimic the style of the English Grand National Race, the carriages climb the first leg of height and pass a sign to say “They’re Off!” Just like the horses have to walk and canter until many are in light with the starter tape in the race, so too, the roller coaster carriages get off to an even start.
The next feature sees them race through Becher’s Brook, which is another reference to The Grand National horse race. It is the sixth fence the horses have to jump in the steeplechase and is notorious for its severity and has been an obstacle to many and the cause of falls and injuries. So to, the steepest initial part of this ride feels dangerous and scary.
The ride is 62 ft high and 3,300 ft long and has references to “Valentine’s” jump and “Canal Turn“ before the carriages finally reach the “Winning Post”. The origin of the name “Canal Turn” comes from the original race course route where the horses would take a country lane jump and then find themselves headed toward Leeds and Liverpool Canal. They would ride into it if not commandeered well by their jockeys.
The race was designed as a cross country steeplechase, so the ditches, hedges and gates that had to be met along the way were designed to created difficulty for the riders and test their skills. The majority of the race used to take place in the countryside. Now it is run on an official course at Aintree, Liverpool.
The Grand National roller-coaster is a fun ride, with a circular track and your opponent carriage by your side. Enjoy the ride!