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I haven't bought Hot Wheels tracks in a long time, and in my experience, they've always been a bit rickety and prone to collapsing, so I've not been in any rush to buy any others. However, while in Tesco recently, I found this Gator Escape set in their clearance section, priced at £3.49, and thought I'd give it a go.
The set includes several pieces of track, a clamp and other components needed to put it together, a plastic alligator head and one Hot Wheels car. The box states that it is for ages 5+, probably because there are small pieces included, but my two year old son and four year old twins all played with it with no problems, as long as I or their Dad set it up first. I was fairly surprised at how well it held together. The plastic clamp goes on to a table edge, or other flat surface (it just about fit our standard issue Ikea coffee table) and the track clips together with the help of some rectangular pieces of plastic. The track itself is pretty flexible, and as of yet, it hasn't cracked or split, despite being used for various other games that I don't think the creators had in mind! I can't say that it held together 100% of the time, but you can tell when track pieces were coming apart, and simply fix them by pushing them back together. It didn't suddenly collapse at any stage.
At the end of the track in a plastic alligator head, which is weighted so as it hangs open. The point is that sometimes cars will make the jump through the gator's mouth and fly off the ramp on his tail, and sometimes the gator will snap his mouth shut to trap the cars. The gator is nowhere near as big as the box suggests, but large enough for cars to move through easily. I'd say that the cars made the jump about 30% of the time and my sons all loved the uncertainty of the whole thing. There were plenty of squeals and triumphant shouts while they played with it. Once or twice the car actually hit the gator's lower jaw rather than entering the mouth, which it clearly isn't meant to do, but this was a rare occurance. The gator seemed properly weighted for the track to work well.
The box also states that this track is not for use with all Hot Wheels cars. We have a pretty big collection of Hot Wheels and all of them, including colour changers and Toy Story themed cars, fit on the track and through the gator's mouth perfectly fine.
Overall, this is a pretty decent track, that made me a little more confident of the quality of Hot Wheels tracks these days. My young children loved it, and had hours of fun, though older children may tire of it quickly. The only reason I marked it down to 4 stars is that the RRP is around £10-£12 which I feel is excessive for such a simple track. We obviously got it at a rock bottom price and were very happy with it, but I think if we had paid much more, I would have been disappointed at the simplicity of it.
Get on the track and perfect your racing skills with our Hot Wheels Performance Track - Big Air Jump! Each track set comes with 1 Hot Wheels car. Not for use with some Hot Wheels vehicles.