Nemesis is an inverted roller coaster located at Alton Towers, England. The ride's concept and layout was devised by designer John Wardley. It was manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) and opened in 1994. It is located in the Forbidden Valley area of the park, adjacent to Air, a flying B&M roller coaster that opened in 2002. More than 50 million people have ridden it since opening.
HISTORY Plans for developing the site began in 1991, when Alton Towers began working on a pipeline roller coaster concept from Arrow Dynamics. The ride, codenamed Secret Weapon 1, was to be themed around a secret military facility.Development of the project was put on hold due to Arrow's financial problems and Mr Wardley's design problems, but was brought back a year later with the codename Secret Weapon 2 this time with the ride being built in a pit, to solve the height restriction problems. However, the project was finally abandoned when John Wardley had the opportunity to ride the prototype, and found it to be slow and energy inefficient. The park began to look at alternatives and around this time John became aware of the rumours surrounding a new installation by Bolliger & Mabillard at Six Flags. Alton Towers contacted Bolliger & Mabillard who would not give out any specifics about the ride and informed the park to speak to Six Flags. John only did that and after a meeting Six Flags agreed to let Bolliger & Mabillard produce a similar ride for Alton Towers on the understanding that Alton Towers would return the favour.John Wardley worked on this new ride concept which he codenamed SW3, though the theme of a secret weapon evolved into that of organic alien creature. Nemesis opened in the spring of 1994 to much media fanfare and was one of many major installations at theme parks throughout the United Kingdom.
LEGACY Almost two decades after its opening, Nemesis is still one of the most popular rides in the park and indeed worldwide. The coaster is still ranked as one of the best coasters in the world by many polls, with thecoastercritic.com ranking the ride as the 3rd best roller coaster in the world in 2006 and the 6th best in 2007 and 2008 and The Golden Ticket Awards ranking it as the 13th best steel roller coaster in the world in 2008. Many of the best rides it has been ranked with, such as Superman: Ride of Steel and Expedition GeForce, are many times taller and faster than Nemesis, as well as more modern. Yet, despite also the planning height restrictions that the local council enforce Alton Towers to abide by, (all coasters have to be below the tree line hence why Nemesis is built into the ground somewhat) the coaster remains very popular due to its sheer intensity and thrill. The coaster was such a success that it spawned a 'sequel' coaster at its sister theme park Thorpe Park under the name of Nemesis Inferno and in 2012 Alton Towers opened Nemesis: Sub-Terra which is based on the original backstory of the rollercoaster. In April 2009, over 20 complaints were submitted to the council by local villagers complaning of increased noise levels from the ride after maintenance work over the closed season. Alton Towers briefly ran the ride at a reduced capacity until new wheels were installed, the ride is now operating fully again.
IN THE MEDIA In 2004, Nemesis gained the world record for the most naked people to ride a roller coaster. 32 people took part, beating the previous record of 28 held by Nemesis Inferno at Thorpe Park. The event took place to celebrate 50 years of Guinness World Records, although it has since been beaten. Nemesis was briefly renamed Wonderland for a month in 2005, to celebrate the release of pop-rock band McFly's new album. The band took a ride on Nemesis on CD:UK, a popular music television programme. The coaster is featured (as well as Oblivion and many other rides at Alton Towers (in addition to the Alton Towers park itself) in the Loopy Landscapes expansion pack of the computer simulation game Roller Coaster Tycoon.
LAYOUT Once the train is locked and checked, it makes a 45-degree, right-hand turn towards the lift hill. Once at the top of the hill, the train makes a quick dip and turns around 180 degrees to the left. The train then descends down the drop into the first inversion, a right-handed corkscrew. The train then makes a right-handed, 270-degree downward helix, with 90 degree banking and a tight radius, achieving the maximum G-force of the ride, this is also where the on-ride camera is located. Then the train rises up into the second inversion, a zero g roll. It then makes a 180-degree right-handed stall turn into the third inversion, a vertical loop. After another stall turn, but this time to the left, the train makes the final inversion, another right-handed corkscrew. The train then passes through an underground tunnel, and through one more 180-degree turn, before being stopped by the brakes and entering the station.The helix following the first inversion is one of the most intense elements of any rollercoaster in the world. The section of track as well as the train wheel assemblies undergo stresses far higher than what is typical for a modern rollercoaster. No inverted rollercoaster has since been built that takes an element at such a high speed.