Gladiator's Gauntlet was a non-inverting Vekoma Canyon Trip ride which appeared to flirt with intensity, but -- when one actually mustered the courage to ride it -- really was not intense at all. It was, however, one of the loudest and most attention-demanding flat rides I have ever encountered in my life. My god, that thing made such a racket.
Packing some beefy shoulder restraints and featuring a dropaway boarding ramp that was retracted before the ride vehicle started moving, the whole thing gave the impression of being a formidable attraction which must do something pretty intense to require all of that bother. It certainly looked like it could have run some kind of program that would invert the vehicle, instead of rarely (if ever?) approaching a 45 degree pitch angle. But I don't believe it was capable of inverting, and at Busch Gardens the ride was quite tame. In fact the left and right sides of the vehicle gave notably different ride experiences, with one of the sides qualifying as patently lame (see further description below). The other side got a bit rowdier but honestly, Da Vinci's Cradle had it all over this thing no matter what seat you picked.
I believe "The Rack" in the video below is basically the same Canyon Trip model that Busch Gardens had, just running a different ride program. To my eye, this program is more exciting than what Gladiator's Gauntlet ran -- but still, if you imagine yourself actually sitting in one of the seats, you'll note that you aren't actually getting a particularly exciting ride. It is a weird juxtaposition of bulky ride system/restraint structure vs. tame rider dynamics.
I believe those are ball joints with a brake, instead of motors, where the arms connect to the ride vehicle, meaning largely the vehicle would just swing dynamically due to ride action instead of really being driven to any particular roll angle. The vehicle's telescoping midsection segment was required to "connect the dots" between the ride arms at all times, and in this video it appears to be near full extension. It would telescope back in at the end of the ride (a geometric requirement, actually, if the machine is ever to return riders to the ground). At Busch Gardens they really showed off the telescoping aspect of Gladiator's Gauntlet, holding one arm straight down at one point while the other rotated all the way around a few times. This naturally ran the mid-segment through its full range of telescopic motion from fully "in" to fully "out," and that looked pretty cool off-ride. It also made for a very boring experience for those actually on the ride who had the misfortune to sit close to the non-moving arm during that section of the ride program. They just rocked back and forth a bit while watching the other side of the vehicle get all the fun.
Strange ride. I was not really surprised to see it go, but I was surprised to find out that it was a Vekoma product. Apparently they didn't sell many of them! A great attention grabber but not much of an experience.
I recall seeing it the year Festa opened (now 6 Flags Over Busch), from the battering ram. My friend Josh and I were just shocked about its existance, as we had no idea that anything was built over there. It was cool to see from a distance.