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Saturday, 25 July, 1998, 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK
On track for coaster target
Rodriguez is on top of the world now that he has broken the record
Record-breaking Richard Rodriguez is battling the elements to reach his roller coaster marathon target of 1,000 hours.

The 39-year-old American teacher told BBC News online that his face is "severely windburnt" after spending 22 hours a day for more than a month on Blackpool's Big Dipper. By noon BST on Saturday he had completed 815 hours on the ride.

Despite beating his own world record of 549 hours and having seen off a Canadian challenger some days ago, the "Coaster King" is determined to clock up 1,000 hours.

Mr Rodriguez says his spirits are "very high" and that he is looking forward to celebrating with ride staff.

He said: "The weather for the past few days hasn't been so good and my face is severely windburnt.

"I have been going for 38 days, and I've got nine left.

"I'm going to see it through. I have a lot of support here and my morale is high.

"It will be good to sleep in a stable, flat bed, but the first thing I will do when it is over is drink champagne with the operations crew.

"They have been great. I have got to know them and I would love for us to go out and get to know each other more."

'Key West to Anchorage'

Speeds on the wooden roller coaster, which 'screams' as it turns in the wet, reach 50mph.

Mr Rodriguez said: "This the equivalent of driving from Key West in Florida to Anchorage in Alaska by car with your head sticking out of the window all the way."

His rival Normand St Pierre, 32, gave up his simultaneous bid on the Le Monstre ride in Parc des Iles in Montreal on Wednesday.

All funds raised through Mr Rodriguez's marathon will be donated to diabetes research.

In accordance with the strict rules laid down by the Guinness Book of Records, Mr Rodriguez, himself a diabetic, has to eat, drink and sleep on the rollercoaster.


He rides with the public during the day passing the time listening to his Walkman, talking on his mobile telephone and writing postcards.

He confesses to living on junk food and insulin jabs. At night, he puts extra padding in the car and catches four of five hours' sleep.

Mr Rodriguez said the main problem on the ride was thinking about relaxing in a comfortable hotel room watching TV.

Safety checks on the Big Dipper, built in 1921, are carried out during his breaks.

Mr Rodriguez's previous records

  • 1977 - 104 hours - The Cyclone, USA
  • 1978 - 110 hours - Swamp Fox, USA
  • 1978 - 124 hours - Rebel Yell, USA
  • 1979 - 168 hours - Roaring Tiger, USA
  • 1979 - 170 hours - Big Dipper, England
  • 1979 - 180 hours - PNE Flyer, Canada
  • 1980 - 203 hours - Big Dipper, England
  • 1980 - 205 hours - Corkscrew, Canada
  • 1982 - 328 hours - Superwirbel, Germany
  • 1994 - 549 hours - Big Dipper, England
  • See also:

    16 Jul 98 | UK
    The duel of the Big Dippers
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