Ellis Lake, which is normally a quiet and tranquil duck pond, was transformed this past weekend with jet wake and water spray as the outlaw riders of the DJSA Jet Ski Race Series hit the water for race #3 in the heart of Marysville, CA.
DJSA president Jim Lambert dedicated this race to the memory of the local Sacramento Motocross legend, Danny “Magoo” Chandler. Danny Chandler passed away earlier in the week with complications due to his condition of being paralyzed from a racing accident in 1986. “Magoo” won countless races and championships and was known as the “hardest charging rider in the history of motocross.” Danny also is the only rider to have ever won all four motos at the prestigious Motocross Des Nations when he led Team USA to a victory in 1982, beginning a string of US motocross wins and motocross domination in this event for years to come.
“My first racing was motocross and Magoo was an inspiration to all of us kids starting out,” said Gidley. “At my local track, I vividly remember sitting at the base of this mountain called ‘Godzilla Hill’ with my buddies and watching Danny fly off the top, clear the middle ledge and land at the bottom… flying further than any rider he was racing. Even as a little kid, I could see the fearless determination and passion for racing in his eyes… I wanted to be like him.”
The racing on Saturday in honor of “Magoo” was kicked off with a memorial parade lap and a moment of silence before the DJSA outlaw races hit the water. Gidley, fresh off a strong fourth place finish in round #2 a few weeks ago, was excited to hit the water for practice. “I was pumped but then in the first few laps of practice I crashed and found myself swimming for my ski!” said Gidley. “I instantly felt like a novice again but decided I was just getting my crashing done early.”
The races would prove to be a different story. In the first moto, Muscle Milk extreme athlete Gidley shot around the first turn and came out behind the #149 ski of Pete Zernik, and in second place. Gidley went on to finish second in moto #1, at the time his best ever finish in the expert class.
In the second moto, Gidley once again was only beat to the first turn by the Zernik; however, moments later in turn three Pete came in too fast and bogged down, and Gidley was able to slip by on the inside. “When I saw Pete make that mistake, I knew this was going to be my chance to win,” said Gidley. “I was so pumped to be in front I had to tell myself to settle down. He was definitely closing on me, but I was determined to fight to the very end for the win.”
Because of his win in moto two, the third moto would now be the tie breaker, winner takes all. “I was definitely in the ‘Magoo’ mode in race #3,” said Gidley. “My only chance of a win was going to take more of a risk in turn one… to try to hold the throttle on later than ever before… that was my plan.”
And according to plan, Gidley and Zernik came around turn one nearly side by side but after the first split of buoys, Zernik was just in front. Ian Roberts #619 was right on Gidley’s heels. “I pushed really hard to try to get ahead of Pete and in the process made a few bobbles. Ian was instantly attacking me,” said Gidley. “Ian and I went side by side through a few buoys… I was way over the edge… that was fun!” The moto ended with Zernik first, Gidley second, and Roberts third. The overall results for the day were the same.
“I was really happy with what I did out there,” said Gidley. “To be mixing it up with Pete Zernik and Ian Roberts, both incredible riders, was a testament to the help and advice they have given me. When I was a novice last year, I specifically watched those two and have tried to mold my style after theirs; it makes me really proud to be out there racing with them and I am thankful for their help.”
Gidley’s next car race is round #5 of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 is Monday May 31st at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut. “I am really getting excited for my next race in the McDonalds #77 with my teammate Dion,” said Gidley. “We have had a great year and I am stoked to be sixth in team points and can’t wait to see what we can do at Lime Rock.”
The race kicks off May 31st at 2:00 PM with live coverage on Speed 2pm EST.
Jetski Photo: Eli Kemnitz