Unlike most road racers, Melissa Paris doesnʼt have motorcycle racing in her blood. Growing up with four older brothers she naturally was a bit of a tom-boy. Youʼd think she might have picked up her love for riding motorcycles from one of her older brothers, but other than one ill-fated day of riding around on a mini-bike with no brakes that her Dad had bartered for, her childhood was ﬁlled with much more traditional sports. She played baseball from the age of 5 until 14 on a boys team, as well as some other sports including swimming, water polo, track, and even a brief foray into BMX racing.
It wasnʼt until her freshman year at SDSU that Melissa was introduced to motorcycles. After many spirited rides on the back of a friendsʼ sportbike in the canyons of San Diego she was hooked. At the age of 20, with the help of a student loan she soon had a Yamaha FZR-600 and a set of leathers.
Less than a year after throwing her leg over a motorcycle for the ﬁrst time, she entered her ﬁrst race at the Streets of Willow Springs. Although she started well past the mid-point of the season she turned expert in time for 2005. On the advice of more experienced friends Melissa sold the 600 and bought a 1998 RS125 for her ﬁrst expert season. She rode the GP bike to several WSMC podiums.
After moving to the East Coast in 2006 she secured her ﬁrst 125GP win at Roebling Road and began making the transition back to the middleweight classes.
2007 saw Melissa competing in the WERA National Challenge Series and WERA National Endurance Series where she co-rode to several wins and even more podiums. She also made a few USGPRU appearances on the Celtic Racing 125, taking a third place during the AMA Superbike event at Miller Motorsports Park.
For 2008 Melissa decided to compete in the hotly contested USGPRU 250GP class aboard a 2000 Honda RS250. Despite some growing pains with the new machine and a little bad luck she still walked away with two pole positions, a win, and a third place ﬁnish to secure ﬁfth in the National Championship. In addition, she was the winner in a battle royale at Daytona International Speedway for the CCS Lightweight GP National Championship.
2009 saw Melissa pulling double duty on an R6 and her RS250. She became the highest placing female ﬁnisher in her ﬁrst pro race, the Daytona 200 with a 21st place ﬁnish. Later in the year, she became the ﬁrst female to qualify for a World Supersport Championship race. Meanwhile she was also ﬁghting for the USGPRU National Championship. With two races to go, and one point out of the lead, she suffered a broken tibia and ﬁbula. Two weeks later, she raced in attempt to salvage points and keep a chance in the championship. Unfortunately she crashed out at the ﬁnale and had to settle for second in the championship.
For 2010 Melissa focussed on riding the AMA Daytona Sportbike Series. Although her season was plagued with injury, she had her best ﬁnish in a Daytona Sportbike race, with 15th at Inﬁneon Raceway. Once again she qualiﬁed and raced in the World Supersport Championship race at Miller Motorsports Park.
2011 saw Melissa again competing in Daytona Sportbike. In an effort to get more seat time, she also did several WERA West events, and despite missing several races ﬁnished 2nd in the B Superbike class. She also was invited to compete in a British Supersport Championship race at Brands Hatch as well as test the Tech 3 Yamaha M1 MotoGP bike in Valencia Spain.
When away from the race track Melissa can be found training on her road bicycle, at the pool swimming, or riding supermoto. She also has a love for working on her own bikes, a skill born out of necessity in her ﬁrst years of racing.