December 11 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Most people in their forties have seen a few ups and downs in their lives.
But for David Ellis, from Lowestoft, the last few years have brought some hair-raising highs and breathtaking lows as he travels the world seeking out thrill rides guaranteed to get his heart racing.
Mr Ellis, 47, is a self-confessed roller coaster fanatic and spends his free time travelling across Europe and America – and occasionally to more exotic destinations – to find his next memorable experience.
And now, thanks to a trip to the Far East, he is fast approaching a 1,000-ride landmark.
Mr Ellis and his wife Susan recently joined a group of 54 other roller coaster fanatics on a whirlwind tour that saw them visit 27 Chinese amusement parks in 16 days and try out dozens of rides.
The trip marked a personal milestone for Mr Ellis as he notched up his 900th different ride on a family roller coaster called the Pine Forest Flying Mouse at Shajiao Fort Haibin Park, near Shenzhen.
By the end of the tour he had managed to ride 69 different roller coasters in China and Hong Kong.
No coaster is too big or too small, so after a quick ride on the roller coaster visiting Lowestoft seafront, Mr Ellis has now reached a total of 952 separate rides in 22 different countries.
He hopes to break the 1,000 mark next year in America.
While not considering herself as “mad” as her husband, Mrs Ellis still has an impressive “coaster count” of 866.
Mr Ellis, who lives in Beaconsfield Road and works for the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, said: “You don’t associate China with roller coasters, but actually in the last few years there has been a massive investment in amusement parks and rides over there, to the extent that it now has more roller coasters than the USA.
“What did surprise me was the how beautiful and well-themed the parks were, although in some of the smaller parks all the rides were very similar – it’s possible they were all bought from the same catalogue.”
Mr Ellis and his wife travelled to China with the European Coaster Club and, amazingly, all of the 56 people on the trip had notched up at least 500 different rides.
“It was a fantastic experience and it was great fun,” he added. “The camaraderie was really good – it was like of bunch of big kids just having fun.”
Mr Ellis first discovered roller coasters when he was 10 and he took his interest to another level when he joined the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain and European Coaster Club.
Describing why he still loved riding them, he said: “It is the adrenalin buzz, the speed, the G-forces, and quite simply the fun – it is my escape from the pressures of the world.”
In January last year Mr Ellis, who used to be Waveney District Council’s chief accountant, become an Internet sensation when he filmed himself zooming down an alpine coaster in Austria and put the resulting video on the YouTube website.
The “Mieders Alpine Coaster (with no brakes!!)” video has now been viewed more than 8.5 million times.
It can be watched at www.youtube.com/user/davidjellis