For 1996 and 1997, what was then Busch Entertainment ordered three Inverted roller coasters from B&M. The first one to open was Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa (Tampa, FL) in 1996 and it was the tallest, fastest and longest Inverted coaster in the world at the time of its opening. It went on what was previous undeveloped land next to the Savannah and was the center piece of the new Egypt section. The chosen name was Montu, the Egyptian Falcon-God of War. He was usually illustrated as a tall muscled man with the head of a Falcon. This made sense as a representation of war as falcons are efficient birds of prey and their surprise attacks and quick kills were what was preferred in a battle. So, selecting this God as the name and theme was perfect for an Inverted Roller Coaster. The ride also held for 18 years the record for the most Inversions on an Inverted Coaster: seven.
On wikipedia, we found this picture of a Bronze amulette representing Montu. The original is at the Musee des Beaux Arts de Lyon (France).
Egypt at Busch Gardens Tampa featured the Questor motion simulator (transformed into the Egyptian themed “Akbar’s Adventure Tour” in 1998), the King Tut’s Tomb walkthrough attraction and various stalls that formed a market. The ride waiting line took place in crumbling ruins and the station appeared to be an archeologist tent. Initially, Nile crocodiles lived under the curve to the lift hill, but they were soon relocated elsewhere around the park.
The Egypt area.
Montu when you approach the park from the parking lot. This picture was shot by Richard Bannister at www.themeparks.ie
The ride features a 150 feet tall lift hill, 128 feet curved first drop to the left which leads to a 104 feet tall vertical tall. The ride then went underground and emerged in the Immelmann, a brand new element where after a half loop, the ride executes a diving half barrel roll toward the ground.
The lift hill, Vertical Loop and Immelmann exit.
The Immelmann goes very close to the entrance arch.
After the Immelmann, the ride goes through a zero G roll and then into another first for B&M: the Batwing. Inspired by the Arrow Development Boomerang curve seen on their larger looping coasters, the ride start with a half corkscrew, goes underground in a half loop and then jumps out of the ground in another half loop. A half corkscrew straightens the train out and send it toward the mid-course brakes. Sadly, Busch (and now SeaWorld parks) tend to over brake the ride at that point and before the zero g roll, neutering what could have been a fun second half of the ride. After dropping out of the block brake, the train go through a half buried 60 feet tall vertical loop and then into a rising curved helix. A run through stone walled trenches leads to a snappy Flat Spin and the ride ends.
The Zero G Roll on the left, the second Vertical Loop on the right and the mid-course brakes in the back.
The second loop and rising helix. The Zero G Roll goes right over both elements. This picture was shot by Richard Bannister at www.themeparks.ie
A nice view of the ride. As part of the Roller Coaster Insider tour offered at the time by the park, Richard Bannister at www.themeparks.ie was able to legally shoot this unique point of view.
The Flat Spin barely goes out of the ground. This picture was shot by Richard Bannister at www.themeparks.ie
The detailed rock walls in the trenches. This picture was shot by Richard Bannister at www.themeparks.ie
At 3983 feet long, it was the longest Inverted Coaster in the world, a record that stood only a year. One interesting feature is that like at Alpengeist and Nemesis, it is one of the rare Inverted Coaster with the station and maintenance area on the ground level. The layout was also quite compact for its size as it has a stretched triangular shape with the lift curve at one end, the Batwing at one corner and the first drop at the other. The lift support also had to be carefully arranged as the final stretch of the ride goes right under it.
The ride maintenance bay with the various elements of a train getting inspected. The harnesses are on the floor on the left, the seats to the right and you can see the detailed wheel covers on the shelf. This picture was shot by Richard Bannister at www.themeparks.ie
The ride entrance.
A side view of the ride entrance.
Theming element in the queue.