It was a fantastic night of reflection at this year’s DJSA jet ski awards banquet which was once again held at Northern California’s premier Go-Kart Racer facility. One of the standout athletes honored was Memo Gidley, the Sahlen RX8 GT driver in the Grand-Am presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 series. The Muscle Milk extreme athlete, has always been known as a race anything athlete and now his successes on the water are earning him the reputation as a top stand up Jet Ski racer in California.
This year’s DJSA series featured events held all over central and Northern California and brought together some of the best stand up and sit down jet skiers the state has to offer. “What a great honor for me to accept the second place trophy from DJSA president Jim Lambert in my first year racing in the 850cc Expert class,” said Gidley. “It was just a couple of short years ago that I entered in my first DJSA race and had to wear a rookie ribbon on my helmet…required by a novice rider for the safety of the other competitors! So now, it was really cool to reflect during this night on what I had accomplished in a short time.”
For Memo and his busy schedule, it was a challenge to be able to compete in some of the events requiring a few red-eye flights and sleepless nights in order to get back from a Grand Am series race to make the DJSA race the same weekend. “Some people thought I was crazy,” said Gidley. “I think that me putting in the kind of effort to fly from my Rolex series race on Saturday to a DJSA jet ski race on Sunday, was not only a reflection of me as a competitor, but also a reflection on the respect I have for the DJSA series and all its competitors…they are a great group.”
As was with last year’s DJSA awards banquet, the other highlight of the night was to have a go- kart race showdown to see who would be the DJSA Go-Kart Racer champion for the year. The field of ninety DJSA racers was narrowed down through qualifying sessions to the top sixteen competitors that would go head to head in a final fifteen lap race.
Last year’s champion was Memo, who elected to start last and worked his way up into the lead on the second to last lap. “Last year, I said I would start last in the final but I really underestimated the driving skills of the Jet Ski racers and was barely able to get through the field and to the front,” said Gidley. “This year, I guess it was assumed that I would do the same, but man was I worried because I knew that everybody had gotten faster than last year!”
However, Gidley once again started last and charged through the field to take the win and was crowned the 2011 DJSA Go-Kart Racer champion. “It was great to once again race go-karts against the people I normally race on the water,” said Gidley. “They are all getting fast and it was not easy to come up through the field…every racer had their own style on the track and passing them was a challenge!”
The night ended with a podium celebration for the go-kart race and then some last words from DJSA president Jim Lambert. “The whole night was really just fantastic!” said Gidley. “Seeing all my friends and competitors from the DJSA series, receiving the second place championship trophy, and then the icing on the cake was taking first in the go-kart race. I just feel lucky that I am able to do what I do and have the support of great sponsors along with my family and friends.”
And now the team Sahlen driver will focus on the Rolex 24 of Daytona race in less than two weeks time. “Team Sahlen has been having some great tests and I am proud what the team has accomplished so far. I am really looking forward to Daytona and beyond,” said Gidley. “Racing in the Grand Am Series is awesome and the way the GT field is shaping up for 2011, it is going to be intense racing and I can’t wait.”
Green flag racing for the Rolex 24 of Daytona kicks off Sat January 29th at 3:30 PM ET. You can catch all the action starting at 2PM ET on SPEED.