Meet Brian - the rollercoaster fan who's ridden The Big One 11,000 times
A Blackpool adrenaline junkie hurtled around The Big One at 85mph for the 11,000th time.
Retired rollercoaster operator Brian Watson, 68, proves that age is no barrier to having fun as he straps into the world-famous Pleasure Beach ride around 900 times every year since it’s opening in 1994.
The daredevil pensioner, who lives off Highfield Road, holds an extensive personal record keeping track of his 22-year roller coaster obsession.
He said: “The Big One sparked my love of rollercoasters. I took my first ride when it first opened. I was nervous, but I thought I might as well give it a try, and it set me off. I just kept going back!”
The former Blackpool Pleasure Beach staff worker operated the ride of his dreams for a year before his retirement in 2008, and returns for several dizzying spins almost every day.
He appeared in The Gazette in 2000 celebrating his 2,000th journey around the 235ft ride, which measures an impressive mile in length and reaches speeds of up to 87mph.
He said: “It’s a brilliant ride. It’s the best ride in the park and was my very favourite to operate.
“It’s unique to Blackpool.
“When I did my 10,000th ride I knew I wasn’t going to stop there – I was going to carry on.
“I’m going to go for the 15,000 mark next!”
Trevor Wood, senior ride operator at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, said: “He’s here sometimes more than we are!
“He comes in the better part of four days each week. He’s usually here all weekend.
“In one day, depending on how many times I can squeeze him in, he’ll ride about 12 or 15 times.
“I think he’ll be here until he can’t make it any more. He may even out-last some of the staff.
“I’d love to see him make 20,000 or even 50,000 rides.”
Super-fan Brian is a registered member of two roller coaster clubs – the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain and the European Rolle Coaster Club – and forks out thousands on his expensive hobby each year.
He said: “I went to PortAventura in Spain on my own just for the rides. I’ve been to America quite a few times with the Roller Coaster Club.
“Las Vegas especially has some really thrilling roller coasters that are twice the size of The Big One.
“I’ve only been nervous once when I was in Las Vegas on the Stratosphere, which is 1,000ft in the air.
“It’s a very interesting hobby, but it can get quite expensive!”
Brian now looks forward to expanding his horizons to rollercoasters at all corners of the globe – but maintained he will always have a special place in his heart for the Blackpool ride that started it all.
He said: “I’ve been thinking of going back to PortAventura next year because they’re building a new rides – one of the accelerated ones like the Rita at Alton Towers.
“I’ll always keep coming back to The Big One.
“It’s The Big One that keeps me going. I suppose I’ll carry on until I’m 75 or there about – but if I can get to 100 I’ll be very happy.”