The DJSA Outlaw Jet Ski series race #5 was held “under the lights” this past weekend at the beautiful Eagle Lakes resort in Tracy, CA. Muscle Milk MEGA Athlete, Memo Gidley was there along with a huge competitor turnout, all wanting to see what racing at night would be like.
“Leave it to DJSA president Jim Lambert to always surprise us with something really cool!” said Gidley. “I have raced in the night many times at Daytona, Sebring etc., in cars, but never thought I would be racing my jet ski at night!”
Practice and racing began on Saturday afternoon and with a great course layout, the buzz around the paddock was alive. “I felt good in practice,” said Gidley. “I always seem to have to get that one big crash done in practice…and true to form that happened again!”
The very popular junior division time trials were also scheduled to run on Saturday. Memo’s nine year old daughter Rachel, racing her 650cc SuperJet standup ski had a strong practice session and was ready to go for her time trial. When the junior divisions were all run, Rachel had a strong 5th place and was less than four seconds off the time for the last spot on the podium. “I had fun racing my ski and this was the first time that I got full throttle on the course and even though it was fast it was also fun!” said Rachel.
With the juniors done racing, the sun dropped below the horizon and the lights were fired up, it was time to go night racing! Gidley was lined up on the inside far right on heat race one and when the flag dropped, the first 850cc Expert standup race rocketed towards the first turn. Gidley got a nice start and was second around turn one. “I got a good start to be second and was just turning into turn three when I got blasted with water from the leader.” said Gidley. “I went from being able to see to zero visibility from the lights reflecting off the water on my goggles. I thought I was at a turn, then realized that I had strayed off course. I stopped and yanked off my goggles so that I could see again but by then I was far behind and only managed to finish seventh.”
In heat race number two Gidley once again got a good start, but then had a motor problem that took him out of the running. “Heat number two was disappointing but I knew that in the final I would get a good start and had the potential to win,” said Gidley.
In the final, Gidley was lined up far to the outside after his heat race results. “I prefer the inside but the way the course was set, this outside run was a little shorter to the first set of buoys,” said Gidley. “As long as you kept the throttle pinned hard, it could work out really well.”
Gidley once again got a nice start and swept the entire field but one on the outside to come out of the first turn in second place. “I was just thinking I could win this when I felt the motor slowing, “said Gidley. “I pulled off the course and five guys blasted by me. And then just as quickly, the motor got going again.”
Unfortunately, by pulling off the course, Gidley was given the black flag and had to serve a penalty buoy that but him far behind. Gidley battled back fifth place and was inches away from passing fourth at the checkered flag.
“Well, even with motor problems and the penalty it was fun to battle back and get so close to fourth place!” said Gidley. “I can’t wait for the next one.”