GIDLEY PASSES 18 DRIVERS TO FINISH 9TH AT KARTING SUPERNATIONALS It wasn't exactly the end result he had hoped for going into the event, but GP's Memo Gidley still pulled out nearly the impossible by passing seventeen of the top S3 Shifter Kart...
GIDLEY PASSES 18 DRIVERS TO FINISH 9TH AT KARTING SUPERNATIONALS
It wasn't exactly the end result he had hoped for going into the event, but GP's Memo Gidley still pulled out nearly the impossible by passing seventeen of the top S3 Shifter Kart drivers to finish 9th in the 30 lap SuperNationals final at Las Vegas, Nevada this past weekend.
Gidley started the week quite optimistic by consistently posting times in the top five in nearly all of the practice sessions leading up to qualifying. "I felt great on my GP kart right away," said Gidley. "However, as the track gripped up I realized that we were a couple tenths off and needed to step up our game if I was going to have a shot at getting to the front in qualifying."
Gidley and the KLS/STM/Kartworks sponsored team went to work changing everything from exhaust pipes to cylinders on the motor while Gidley tried to fine tune changes on the chassis in the five practice sessions leading up to qualifying.
Gidley ended up qualifying 7th out of the 45 Kart field, a scant 2tenths off the fastest time in qualifying. Impressively, the top 38 drivers all qualified within a second showing the depth of the field. "Honestly, even though I was very close or near the top of the time sheets in most of the practice sessions, you can't just be close and expect to win in a karting event of this magnitude," said Gidley. "To be only 2 tenths off in qualifying was very good but not good enough. Myself and the KLS Team continued to work feverously to make changes to both the kart and motor to try to get some more performance out of the package."
With each of the three 20 lap heat races, the changes were definitely starting to pay off. Starting in 7th for each of the heat races, Gidley finished 6th in the first heat. However this is when a few problems surfaced. The second heat, Gidley was running 5th at the halfway mark when an ignition wire came off the motor and his first DNF mechanical breakdown. The third heat Gidley was running 4th when his drive chain began to loosen which ended in another DNF.
Good heat race performances are important because the points from these races set the grid for the 30 lap final on Super Sunday. Unfortunately for Gidley, one lone 6th place finish and two DNF's pushed the #31 GP Kart to the back half of the field for the 30 lap main and in 27th position. "I was very disappointed that we had two non finishes in the heat races because I knew that this would slot us deep in the field," said Gidley. "But I was prepared for this battle and knew that I was not going to leave anything on the table for the main event on Sunday."
Gidley and his KLS team continued to work on his kart late into Saturday night with final changes for the Sunday morning warm up. The work was paying off as Gidley was fastest of the field in the Sunday AM practice, posting a time one tenth faster than the pole time from Friday morning. "The last change to the chassis really got us to the front time wise and I was very optimistic for the race," said Gidley. "But I would be lying if I said that sitting on the grid in 27th place and looking forward seemed like a long way from the top ten and to get there would be very hard!"
When the green lights went on for the 30 lap S3 final, Gidley rocketed off the line and began his charge. Through a combination of an impressive first few laps which saw Gidley rocket past a dozen drivers and then fast and consistent laps as he methodically worked his way forward for the next 30 laps saw Gidley cap of an incredible race where he ended up in 9th place. "Although not satisfied to be in ninth place, I was happy considering where I had started." said Gidley. "I gave it all I had and enjoyed the challenge."
Gidley's is already planning to be back at the SuperNationals next year. "I will say that even though the end result was not what I wanted, I loved every minute of being pushed that hard by very hungry and determined drivers," said Gidley. "I also really enjoyed driving for Mike Desrosiers at KLS, Sean Thomas Automotive my sponsor, and AJ Noud and his Kartworks GP team and my mechanic Taylor Joy. I will guarantee that in next year's event I will be much more prepared and I can't wait to be back."