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Memo’s Return

John Gorsline and Memo Gidley at Daytona. [Photo by Eddie LePine]

John Gorsline and Memo Gidley at Daytona. [Photo by Eddie LePine]

By Jack Webster & Eddie LePine

“It’s been a long journey.”

That quote from Memo Gidley sums up the last three years for him. Back at Daytona for the first time since suffering horrible injuries in the 2014 running of the Rolex 24 when his Corvette DP car crashed into the back of a slowly moving Ferrari, Memo is back and ready to go racing again.

He wanted to come back to Daytona to let the racing community know that he indeed is back and looking for an opportunity to race once again. He also wanted to thank everyone who has supported him throughout his very tough journey.

He faced a long and tough road to recovery after his accident. He endured 8 surgeries, physical therapy and painful nerve damage. But he didn’t give up, he kept going and now he is back, 100% and ready to race. Perhaps wanting to return to racing and have the life he had before the accident is what drove him. The man has a lot of courage and grit, to say the least.

As Memo told us: “The first six months after (the accident) was not the life I wanted. For a while, it was like three steps forward and two steps back, but what I dreamed about was getting back into racing.”

Memo continues his story: “Slowly stuff has started coming back. I was very fortunate that I had a lot of people behind me – a lot of fans, a lot of friends. I wanted to get back to something I did before the accident, and one was sailing. Initially, I could walk down to the dock, but couldn’t climb into my boat. A couple of months later I was able to get onto the boat. A couple months after that I was actually able to take the boat out, but I could barely walk on the deck without losing my balance, but eventually I began sailing. Then I began racing sailing boats, which inspired me and built my confidence up.”

Memo wants to thank a lot of people, who helped him along the way. “There are so many people to thank. There’s Jim France, the first responders who cut me out of the car, the doctors at Halifax Hospital, all my physical therapists back home, all the doctors back there. Bob Stallings was great, he supported my family. All the Gainsco people were great.”

He continues: “Coming out here this weekend its great to see everybody and say thank you, because I was at a point where life was not fun and it was not the kind of life I wanted and getting support from my racing friends meant a lot to me.”

He had a special thank you for John Gorsline of the Gorsline Companies, who provides insurance for many of drivers in motorsport, including Memo.

“I’ve been with Gorsline Insurance for a long time. When you’re paying that insurance bill every month, you’re like – I’ll never use it, why am I paying this? I’m telling you, after an accident like this, you’re glad you have it.”

Memo went on: “John Gorsline, right before the race (Daytona 2014) came to me to update my paperwork. I hadn’t filled it out yet and I said, John, it’s pretty expensive. He said, listen Memo, I’m putting it through and getting it going so you are all set. That was literally Friday before the race, so there you go.”

A handshake deal with John Gorsline made a huge difference in Memo’s life.

Memo: “It’s always good to have friends in racing – it’s a great community and so many people are looking out for you.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Welcome back, Memo.

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Jack Webster has been shooting motorsports since the early 1970’s, covering Formula One, CanAm, F5000, TransAm, GrandAm and American Le Mans races, among others. In addition to his photography, he has also worked on racing teams, both in IMSA and IndyCar, so has a complete knowledge of the inner workings of motorsport. Both his photography and writing can be seen here on racingnation.com. Eddie LePine has been involved in motorsports for over 30 years as photographer, columnist, and driver. Eddie also is now a retired racer (well, retired unless a good ride pops up). You can usually find Eddie in the paddock area, deep in conversation with a driver.