Modern Moto Magazine ISSUE No. 5 - November 2017 - Page 34

Melissa Paris CURVE EVOLUTION Professional Road Racer and Team Owner WOMEN CHANGING THE LOOK OF MOTO Melissa Paris is a professional motorcycle roadracer who, as far as pro sports are concerned, got a late start. The fi rst me she even rode a motorcycle wasn’t un l the age of 20, but it was only a year later that she entered her fi rst race. A er a few years of club racing Hondas in the 250 and 600 classes, Melissa entered her fi rst year of professional racing with the American Motorcyclist Associa on (AMA) on a Yamaha R6. For four years, she raced on diff erent 600 pla orms and was able to get a top 10 fi nish at the Daytona 200, America’s premiere motorcycle race. Melissa was the fi rst female to qualify for a World Supersport race and the only female to ever test a MotoGP M1 prototype race bike. In 2014, she competed for a season in the Spanish Championship (CEV) and fi nished fi h overall in Spanish CEV Superstock. That same year, Melissa was part of the fi rst female team in history to complete any Suzuka Endurance Race. Melissa’s racing career con nued and, in 2015, she went back to MotoAmerica (formerly AMA) and con nued to race 600s. During that me, she also got involved with the Girls Racing Team, and they won the 600 category of the 24 Hours of Barcelona at Catalunya. In 2016, they became the fi rst all-female team to qualify and fi nish the Bol d'Or (part of the World Endurance Championship) and, in 2017, they repeated their success at the 24 Garage Sale Exclusive Hours of Le Mans. With so many fi rsts for female racers and considering her own rela vely late start in racing, Melissa decided she wanted to not only encourage young aspiring female racers to start early but be directly involved in their careers, so she founded the MP13 Racing Team. Melissa feels the reason there are not more women at the top level winning races is simply because less girls than boys are being introduced to the sport at a young age. From what she has seen, families are more likely to put their 5-year- old son on a motorcycle than they are their 5-year-old daughter. So, she started MP13 with the goal of crea ng a pathway for young girls to top level roadracing. Melissa feels that if she can build a team for others to see young ladies moving through the ranks, there may be a trickle-down eff ect where we begin to see more parents involving their daughters in motorsports. So, Melissa scouted amateur motocross and mini roadracing to build her fi rst-year team. With her own race sponsors on board to support the MP13 team as well, we are on track to see more young women in the U.S. excelling in compe ve motorsports racing. Melissa is “changing the look of moto” on the track and behind the scenes with female riders of all ages around the world. All Modern Moto readers can save 10 percent on all Helite Airbag vests and jackets at helitemoto. com. Enter Coupon Code MODERN at checkout! Helite designs its airbag equipment with every body shape in mind. Call Helite for assistance with sizing. 510-595- 3302. 34 Watch the new Helite Xena Women's Leather Jacket Review and Demo in the digital version of Modern Moto Magazine.