Pregnant And Racing: Melissa Paris Leads By Example

Troy Siahaan
by Troy Siahaan

To Melissa Paris, racing motorcycles is a genderless activity. The motorcycle doesn’t care if you’re male or female – what matters is beating the person in front of you. She’s carried this mindset throughout her racing career. She hadn’t even ridden a motorcycle until the old (in motorcycle terms) age of 20, but she took to it like a fish to water and rose through the ranks quickly, eventually becoming a regular fixture at AMA, then MotoAmerica competition – beating plenty of men along the way.

She went on to marry four-time AMA/MotoAmerica Superbike champion Josh Hayes, but made a point to build her racing program herself, without relying on her big-name husband. This determination led her to create a team, MP13 Racing, whose rider, 16-year-old Jamie Astudillo, had been impressing on the off-road racing scene. Paris took on the role of team owner and mentor to Jamie while also racing internationally herself, competing in various world-level championships.

What many don’t know is that Paris continued to race motorcycles until she was four months pregnant. To focus on this, however, would be to discredit what she’s done as a racer, a team owner, a mentor, and most importantly, as a woman making her own informed decisions. Of course, she realizes the stigma some may attempt to place on her, but as the video below shows, what matters more to Melissa Paris is empowering the next generation of girl racers.

Troy Siahaan
Troy Siahaan

Troy's been riding motorcycles and writing about them since 2006, getting his start at Rider Magazine. From there, he moved to Sport Rider Magazine before finally landing at in 2011. A lifelong gearhead who didn't fully immerse himself in motorcycles until his teenage years, Troy's interests have always been in technology, performance, and going fast. Naturally, racing was the perfect avenue to combine all three. Troy has been racing nearly as long as he's been riding and has competed at the AMA national level. He's also won multiple club races throughout the country, culminating in a Utah Sport Bike Association championship in 2011. He has been invited as a guest instructor for the Yamaha Champions Riding School, and when he's not out riding, he's either wrenching on bikes or watching MotoGP.

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  • Patriot159 Patriot159 on May 02, 2018

    Glad she didn't crash and kill the baby. I'm thinking wisdom predicates that some things should be put on hold during a pregnancy.

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    • RyYYZ RyYYZ on May 03, 2018

      Well, we'll have to agree to disagree, because I don't see a problem, and again I don't see where it's any of my business.

  • Craig Hoffman Craig Hoffman on May 03, 2018

    As motorcyclists, we are already disapproved of and "outsiders" as viewed by the safety seeking sanitized for it's protection general public. Melissa Paris dares to be even more of an outsider, a woman competing hard core on the racetrack against men with skill, intensity and speed that is way out there on the edge of the riding envelope Bell Curve. In short, she is a far better rider than I am and you are.

    I think Melissa is beautiful and amazing, and understand why Josh Hayes married her - she is a highly capable woman who is fully engaged and alive, and that is about as cool as it gets.