Muscle Milk MEGA athlete, Memo Gidley, and the Ward Racing Karting team, just missed a victory in this past weekend’s annual Sonoma Raceway 4 Hour Kart Enduro. Memo was drafted into the team after a last minute opening only a few days before the event. “The team owner and my friend, Anthony Ward, had asked me some time ago but because of what was going to be a conflict with my schedule, I had to initially decline,” said Gidley. “However, my previous commitment never happened and when one of Anthony’s other drivers canceled it all came together. I was stoked to get in another race before I left for Daytona.”
Gidley was teamed with Anthony Ward, who was his teammate in his most recent 25 Hours of Thunderhill victory, and another local kart driver, Jim Kidd. “The first time I drove the teams kart was Friday before the event,” said Gidley. “In this race, everybody uses the TAG one speed package. It still has good power, but is much different than my normal 125cc shifter kart to drive. Even though we made a few positive changes to the kart in practice, I still had no idea what our pace would be against other drivers in the race. ”
Gidley was nominated by the team to be the starting and closing driver. And when the traditional running to the kart LeMans style start went off, Gidley sprinted to the kart and found himself leap both himself and the #00 Ward Racing kart to second place by the first turn. And as everybody was fighting cold tires, Gidley slipped into the lead by turn four. “I knew I would be good on cold tires, but once it all settled down, I was shocked that we had such good pace,” said Gidley. After leading the first 10 laps, Gidley was locked into a three kart draft at the front. “I was quite content to sit in second and third place and conserve fuel,” said Gidley. “We had a really tight fuel window, and I did not want us to have to make a extra stop at the end, so I just hung onto the bumper of the leader and part throttled it around a good part of the track.”
Gidley made it 70 laps before heading to the pits to hand the kart to Anthony Ward. Anthony came out and maintained the team in fighting position, running in second place and on the lead lap. An hour after that, the kart was handed over to Jim Kidd, and everything was running smoothly.
“Soon after Jim was in for his stint, we heard our engine getting very loud so we called him into the pits to have a look,” said Gidley. “Sure enough, we had a cracked header pipe and so did a quick swap and got him back out onto the track. However, with the lap times in the 50 second range even a quick stop meant three laps lost.”
One by one, other teams started to experience their own dramas, and before they knew it, Ward Racing and the #00 kart was back on the lead lap. Jim brought the kart in to hand it over to Gidley for the last hour. With the first place team having to make their final stop, Gidley was good to go to the end and would be solidly back into the lead. “I knew we were in good shape and was running a nice easy pace,” said Gidley. “I was so disappointed as with about 20 minutes to go, the kart lost all power and I had to limp it back to the pits.”
Sure enough, a seized motor would end their run to a win at the end. “Ahhh…so close and then a disappointing motor problem,” said Gidley. “Like I told my co-driver and kart owner, as disappointing as this was, nothing ventured, nothing gained. It was a good race, we were contenders, and we will be back to win another day.”