FARMINGTON -- Duane Richards, of Washington Terrace, spent a portion of his 38th birthday as a passenger on Lagoon's new $2.5 million Air Race thrill ride.
"It's like the Samurai -- sideways," said Richards, comparing Air Race to another thrill ride at the park.
Air Race, designed to give riders the motion of an acrobatic airplane, with banks, rolls, loops and realistic propellor noise, was unveiled Thursday to the media and some Lagoon employees' families. Richards was an invited guest of the amusement park.
The ride, in the north end of the park, actually debuted to the public April 7. Lagoon is currently open only on weekends.
The ride accommodates up to 24 riders at one time in six, four-seat gondolas. It combines a 6 rotation per minute central ride motion around a tower, with an arm rotation that provides riders with various "multivectored sensations," park officials said.
"Visually, it's terrific to watch -- it's a real egg-beater," Lagoon Vice President of Marketing Dick Andrew said. "It's a thrill ride. This isn't a leisurely ride over the (amusement) park.
"I think all of us at Lagoon are pleased with how the ride looks and the action of the ride," he said.
But because of the ride's dynamics, participants must be in good health; free from heart conditions, neck and back injury; and be at least 48 inches tall.
Lagoon officials suggest that riders, prior to boarding Air Race, observe the ride in operation to determine its suitability relative to their own physical condition.
"I was kind of scared of it before (I went on it,)" said Jake Wendt, 11, of Farmington. "But when I rode it, (the ride) wasn't that scary."
Jake said the part of the ride he liked most was when it first flipped him upside down.
Lagoon sales representative Brady Burrell, who rode the ride for the first time Thursday, said it isn't "a little kid's ride."
When the ride took him upside down, Burrell said, he could feel his hair standing on end. "You feel the pressure (of the G-forces)," he said.
But Lagoon and a leading area business official are confident Air Race will be popular.
Davis Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Jim Smith, on hand to help cut the ribbon on the ride, said Lagoon has regional appeal.
"Everybody in the Mountain West knows about Lagoon," Smith said.
With the park being visible from the freeway, he said, Lagoon is Davis County's most "identifiable landmark."
"We're very fortunate," Smith said.
Based on his reaction and smile, 14-year-old Bryson Moore, of Farmington, is glad Air Race is included in the season passport his family regularly buys to the park.
"Oh, that was exhilarating. When you go upside down, that is awesome," said Bryson, who took advantage of Thursday's short lines to ride the attraction repeatedly.
Lagoon is open on the weekends, and will begin daily operations June 4.