Following in a year in the World Superbike Championship with Erik Buell Racing on the Team Hero EBR 1190RX, Geoff May was left without a ride.
But the 34-year-old Georgian wasn’t about idle around in 2015. He had plans of competing in the Daytona 200 at the end of 2014, but nothing solidified until February. This is when fans suggested a Gofundme.com campaign, and in four weeks May secured enough cash to put in an effort in Daytona.
Things rushed by, and May – working on his own ride with help from WAM Cycle’s William Meyers – didn’t finish assembling his Yamaha YZF-R6 until an hour before tech inspection. The results of these efforts so far? How about pole position for the 74th annual Daytona 200!
And just as everything arrived last moment for the Dunlop-equipped #99 Project Mayday Yamaha pilot, so did his qualifying position. May earned pole position with a lap of 1:50.636 around the 3.51-mile Daytona International Speedway course – a mere 0.005 of a second quicker than 2010 Daytona 200 Champion Josh Herrin on the #2 Meen Motorsports Yamaha YZF-R6.
Following the feat, May said in sponsor’s JRi Shocks press release: “For sure I am excited, but really I am just as excited for all the fans and sponsors that donated cash, services, and products. I wouldn’t have been here without them, and I want to win not only for myself, ut to thank all of the people and companies for their tremendous support.”
May posted the lap late in the final (of two) qualifying sessions: “I knew it was a good lap. When I saw my number go to the top of the boards, I was happy. I knew I had (the pole); with the amount of time left [in the session] nobody was going to best that. I’m over the moon.
“We don’t even have a trailer. We stuffed as much in a van as we could and rolled down to Daytona to give it our best shot. This reminds me of my privateer days. But I’ve done it before. That’s how I earned my way into the AMA paddock.
“This is my 16th year coming to Daytona. Overnight I’ve become a veteran. I’m out of a job racing right now; I wanted to come down to Daytona to remind people I’m still a top rider and I do deserve a job … I feel like I do have a place, I feel like I’m at the peak of my ability, fitness and knowledge. I’m not ready to quit. I came down here to put a stamp on things.”
Qualifying behind 2013 AMA SuperBike Champion Herrin’s R-6 (Dunlop) was Stefano Mesa on the #11 Westside Performance Yamaha R-6, making for 1-2-3 Yamaha front row.
Heading up row two is the defending Daytona 200 Champion Danny Eslick on the #69 TOBC Racing Suzuki GSX-R600. Eslick earned the pole last year en route to his first-ever Daytona 200 win.
Speaking of his strategy, Eslick says “Be there at the end. It’s a long race. You have to stay out of a first-turn pileup [early] when everybody’s antsy and trying to be a hero. Hopefully just hang tight and be there at the end.”
Joining Eslick on the second row is Barrett Long (Ducati 848EVO) and the 2007 Daytona 200 winner Steve Rapp (Yamaha YZF-R6).
The 2015 Daytona 200 – sanctioned for the first time by American Sportbike Racing Association (ASRA) after MotoAmerica and DIS could not arrive at an agreement – will begin at 1 p.m. ET Saturday, and will streamed live on FansChoice.tv.
2015 Daytona 200 Qualifying Results, Top 25:
1. Geoff May, Yamaha YZF-R6: 1:50.636
2. Josh Herrin, Yamaha YZF-R6: 1:50.641
3. Stefano Mesa, Yamaha YZF-R6: 1:51.246
4. Danny Eslick, Suzuki GSX-R600: 1:51.290
5. Barrett Long, Ducati 848: 1:51.309
6. Steve Rapp, Yamaha YZF-R6: 1:51.961
7. Bruno Silva, Yamaha YZF-R6: 1:52.549
8. Jason Farrell, Kawasaki ZX-6R: 1:52.810
9. Eric Wood, Kawasaki ZX-6R: 1:52.823
10. Bostjan Skubic, Yamaha YZF-R6: 1:52.988
11. Bryce Prince, Yamaha YZF-R6: 1:53.567
12. Armando Ferrer, Yamaha YZF-R6: 1:53.694
13. Scott Stall, Yamaha YZF-R6: 1:53.937
14. Carl Soltisz, Yamaha YZF-R6: 1:53.953 (qualifying 1)
15. Charlie Long, Ducati 848: 1:53.996 (qualifying 1)
16. Ryan Jones, Honda CBR600RR: 1:54.051
17. Dustin Apgar, Yamaha YZF-R6: 1:54.154
18. David Sadowski, Jr., Yamaha YZF-R6: 1:54.219
19. Ryan Christian, Yamaha YZF-R6: 1:54.351 (qualifying 1)
20. Xavier Zayat, Yamaha YZF-R6: 1:54.518
21. Fernando Silva, Yamaha YZF-R6), 1:54.780
22. Seth Starnes, Yamaha YZF-R6: 1:54.885
23. Sean Dwyer, Yamaha YZF-R6: 1:54.970 (qualifying 1)
24. Alan Slaney, Triumph Daytona 675: 1:54.974 (qualifying 1)
25. Jamie Patterson, Suzuki GSX-R600: 1:55.197