Rita (formerly known as Rita: Queen of Speed) is an Intamin accelerator coaster located in the Dark Forest area of Alton Towers in Staffordshire, England. It accelerates to 61.1 mph in 2.5 seconds. The ride is loosely based on drag racing. It is similar to Stealth at Thorpe Park which opened in 2006, though this partly changed with the retheming of Ug Land into the Dark Forest for 2010. It now stands as an abandoned drag racer that is used as the escape cart to escape the Dark Forest. Riders must be over 1.4 m (55 in) tall to experience this ride. The ride was temporarily renamed "Camilla - Queen of Speed" on 9 April 2005 to celebrate the marriage of Prince Charles to Camilla Parker Bowles. This simply involved banner signage to notify guests of the name change. There is a clone of Rita at Heide Park another park owned by Merlin Entertainments called Desert Race. It is the second fastest roller coaster in Alton Towers at 62 mph, surpassed only by Oblivion which goes 68 mph.
RIDE EXPERIENCE Rita was Alton Towers' new attraction for the 2005 season. The ride starts with the train racing forward from the station area. The train is then accelerated from 0–62 mp/h in 2.3 seconds, and negotiates high speed corners and hills before then reaching the brake run parallel with the station. The ride has since been partly rethemed to support the theme of nearby Thirteen which opened in March 2010. The ride control cabin and entrance have been refurbished to look 'engulfed' by the branches of the Dark Forest area. As well as the control cabin and Rita tyres being rethemed to suit the Dark Forest, the cars have been rethemed with a darker grey tint to the bottom of the cars with forest stains over the flames to make it fit. It still has the blue and purple cars with flames but with a tint of grey to make Rita look damaged by the supernatural forest. The voiceover heard before the ride launches is also changed to incorporate a more spooky theme. As opposed to a motor racing commentary-style voice counting down to the start of a drag race, it is now a sinister, foreboding voice ordering passengers to "Keep your head back! Hold on tight! You MUST escape! Go! Go! Go!".
INCIDENTS On the morning of Tuesday 24 July 2012, the ride's launch cable snapped during morning testing while attached to a empty train. This also happened in 2005. No injuries were reported, but the incident was similar to the 2009 failure of the Xcelerator rollercoaster's launch cable in the United States. The ride re-opened on Thursday 26 July, 2012.