Memo Gidley’s disturbing crash on January 25, 2014, during the Rolex 24 at Daytona left the Californian with extensive injuries that continue to heal. The open-wheel and sports car ace is still dealing with lingering effects from the crash more than 18 months after striking the back of Risi Competizione’s Ferrari F458 with his GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP, but as he’s shown throughout his career, Gidley refuses to let adversity keep him from his goals.
“I’m getting there. I’m getting stronger; I’m back in the gym and the workouts are getting more intense,” Gidley told RACER. “I’m also back on my mountain bike, doing one or two-hour rides, and that’s good because I was limited there before.”
Gidley suffered significant damage and trauma to his back and lower extremities at Daytona, which made simple tasks like sitting and walking a painful chore after initial healing was completed. He experienced significant discomfort in the months that followed his hospital stay, and has made exceptional progress this year in getting back to a routine that’s close to normal.
“Being able to ride again is really big because before it wasn’t possible; I couldn’t sit for any length of time, and I couldn’t really bend my right knee or put any pressure on it,” he said. “That’s getting better and stronger, and everything’s progressing. We’ve had a little bit of confusion with my back and the fusion I had there; one doctor looked at my CT scan and said it was fine, and another said it wasn’t, so I’ve been a little cautious there while getting accurate information.”
Seeking clearance to start testing has taken more time than expected.
“It’s taken months to get all of the appointments arranged, and I think we’ll have an answer on how my back has healed so we can look at the right timing to go harder,” Gidley explained. “I’ve been pushing like hell on my own, but I don’t want to start driving until we’re sure the fusion is settled. I wanted to test my kart a few months ago, but I’ve been in limbo waiting on feedback from the doctors. Once I get it, I’ll be getting back in the groove.”
Resuming his driving career will happen on whatever timeline Gidley and his doctors decide. The best news, however—after being mostly immobile for most of 2014—is how the rest of Memo’s life has resumed.
“It’s little victories, right? It felt like it wasn’t so long ago where I was lying face down on the massage table eating breakfast, or any meal, for that matter, because I couldn’t sit without huge pain,” he recounted.
“Now, I wake up every morning, have breakfast with my lady, we go out to dinner…we’ve been going to the movies a lot. It’s pretty cool having gone through the worst part to get to where everything’s pretty much returned to normal. We still have a few obstacles to clear, but I don’t think we’re far from putting the whole ordeal behind us.”