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From sails to speedways, Tiburon man born to race

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

Memo Gidley of Tiburon is seen at the San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere last month. Gidley runs a charter-sailing company and races both sailboats and cars. (Elliot Karlan / For The Ark)

Memo Gidley says growing up on a sailboat shaped him into the prize-winning racecar driver he is today.

Though oil and water don’t normally mix, the 51-year-old Tiburon resident spent most of his young life sailing up and down the Pacific Coast learning how to care for and drive his family’s floating home, and he eventually translated those skills into his passion for speed on the racetrack.

Currently, Gidley owns and operates his own sailing charter company, Sailing Memo Boat Charters, while also building his career as a professional racecar driver, this season taking the wheel of a Bentley Continental GT3 for TKO Motorsports/Flying Lizard in the inaugural GT America series, which started at Sonoma Raceway in March.

The two sports keep him busy: Last week, he took to the water to compete in the grueling Doublehanded Farallones Race — a 60-mile sprint from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Farallon Islands and back — then hopped on a plane to Florida to sweep the two-day, two-race competition at the 3.74-mile, 17-turn Sebring International Raceway. They were his first wins of the season.

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