It was a day and night of adventures for the Trackmagic team of Memo
Gidley, Oswaldo Negri, and Ricky and Jordan Taylor at the 12th running
of the Granja Vianna 500 go-kart race held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This
world famous race attracted once again a stellar field of drivers from
all over the world and from all disciplines of racing. Car drivers
Felipe Massa, Rubens Barichello, Tony Kanaan, Christian Fittipaldi,
Bruno Junquiera, Vitor Miera and Marco Andretti were just a few of the
hundreds of drivers present.
It was a day and night of adventures for the Trackmagic team of Memo Gidley, Oswaldo Negri, and Ricky and Jordan Taylor at the 12th running of the Granja Vianna 500 go-kart race held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This world famous race attracted once again a stellar field of drivers from all over the world and from all disciplines of racing. Car drivers Felipe Massa, Rubens Barichello, Tony Kanaan, Christian Fittipaldi, Bruno Junquiera, Vitor Miera and Marco Andretti were just a few of the hundreds of drivers present.
The Trackmagic team’s first problem happened on the first lap when the motor failed after Oswado Negri took the green flag. "I could not believe that we had a motor problem and did not even make one lap!" said Gidley. "But on a 12-hour kart race, I knew that we still had a chance if everything went well from here on out."
Shortly after that there was a stuck throttle during the driving stint of Jordan Taylor. Jordan soldiered on with the throttle of the kart jammed wide open and using the brakes to slow the kart down for the corners. "Jordan was doing great with the stuck throttle but it came to a point where the brakes were taking a real punishing," said Gidley. "We could smell those brakes burning up from the front straightaway and he had to be brought in to fix the problem."
At that point the team had dropped back to 58th. "Even though we had these problems, we were still having fun on the track," said Gidley. "The racing was so intense and with that many karts on this small track, there was never a dull moment."
After those first two mechanicals, the Trackmagic team was starting to work its way back to the front. The team Trackmagic drivers were all running fast and trouble free and turning times easily able to run inside the top ten. "As the race went on, we went from the third timing sheet, to the second, and then on the front page of the scoring monitors," said Gidley. "Me, Rick, Jordan and Ozz were all starting to get really excited."
Gidley then got in the kart for the second time and was continuing the charge to the front. "You get a sense of how fast you are depending on how many cars are either passing you, or how many cars you are passing," said Gidley. "It did not matter which of us was in the kart, it was rare that a car would pass us… we were for sure doing a lot of passing which made me even more excited to see what the race outcome would be for us."
Unfortunately, about two hours from the end, another mechanical in the way of a broken rear hub sent Memo into the barriers. "I was flat out turning into one of the fastest corners when the hub failed and sent me spinning into the barriers," said Gidley. "I was disappointed because it took fifteen minutes for the team’s mechanics to get out on the track to get to me and I knew that would be the end of any chance for a good result."
After fixing the kart, the Trackmagic team soldiered on and still managed to finish in 28th. “In long distance racing, to win you really need a trouble free race," said Gidley. "Even though we had some problems, it was a great effort and I appreciate Trackmagic for sending me down to this event."
Barring the mechanical problems of the race, Gidley still enjoyed the experience. "This race that Tony Kanaan, Rubens Barichello, and Felipe Giaffone put on is really something special and I enjoyed being part of it," said Gidley. "The energy of all the Brazilian mechanics and the atmosphere of the race are like something I have never experienced. And my teammates, Oswaldo, Rick and Jordan were just plain and simple awesome and a ton of fun to be around."
Gidley had been to Rio de Janeiro when he raced a Players Champ Car there in 2000 but that was his only previous visit to Brazil. "Rio was nice but I enjoyed even more my time in Sao Paulo," said Gidley. "Oz, a local of Sao Paulo, showed us all a really good time. We enjoyed great dinners and nights out and had a lot of fun. I look forward to doing many more years of this race with my only change being I would come down earlier to get a chance to enjoy the fantastic Brazilian culture and energy even more."