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Old 12-14-2015, 11:20 PM   #1
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Melissa Paris Hosts Ride Day For Fans At The Paris-Hayes Compound

(Left to right) Melissa Paris, Cameron Beaubier, JD Beach and Joe Roberts spin laps around the short track at the Paris-Hayes compound at the #MPTrueFans Ride Day.

It’s not everyday that fans get a chance to ride with their idols at their home track. Well for five of Melissa Paris’ fans, that day was yesterday, December 13, at the #MPTrueFans Ride Day at her and her husband Josh Hayes’ home for a day of riding and dinner.

The day of fun was born out of a not-so-fun situation.

“I showed up at CoTA [Circuit of The Americas] this year for the first round and found out that one of my sponsors pulling back the level of support I thought I was going to get, which basically meant that I was dead in the water for the year. I wasn't going to have enough money to continue racing,” Paris said.

American Supercamp's Michael Carder (left) and four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes (right) helped break down the basics of dirt track for the guests.

In a situation with little options, she turned to crowd funding. It was something Paris was always reluctant to do: “I never wanted to feel like I was begging for money from fans, we’re supposed to be entertaining them,” she said. But she met a guy who started a crowd-funding platform for action sports athletes called Dark Horse Pros that was a little different.

“The one thing that really sets his platform apart is that it’s not so much that fans are donating money, they can get some really cool merchandise or cool experiences in exchange for supporting you,” she explained. “One of the things that was on our platform was the opportunity to come ride here at our house. We post videos and photos of us flat tracking all the time and people seem to be interested in it, so I put that on there. And low and behold I had five people take me up on it.”

As an extra bonus, the Hayes invited a few of their MotoAmerica friends – Superstock 600 Champion Joe Roberts, Supersport Champion JD Beach, Superstock 1000 Champion Jake Gagne and even the guy who beat four-time AMA Superbike champ Hayes this year, Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier.

Beach (95) has a little fun with friend and fellow Yamaha rider Beaubier (6).

Also enlisted to help teach some dirt track basics, was American Supercamp’s Michael Carder, which came in handy as most of the riders had very little to no experience on dirt, including Beaubier, who was also a flat-track newbie.

But while most took the time to learn, it wasn’t a day at school. It was a day of fun. The five who contributed to Melissa’s racing effort for the ride day got to ride around on some Yamaha TTR125s as much as they wanted (with or without the pros), get as much instruction as they wanted, or just watch the champs bang bars and fool around.

In addition to showing off some flat track skills, Beach also spent some time teaching.

Beach, who also has a Grand National number and does a few AMA Pro Flat Tracks every year, showed off some of his short track skills – sliding it into the corners with the bike nearly on the ground, riding side saddle (yes that happened) and good old-fashioned stuffing your buddies in the corners (yes, that happened more often).

At the end of the day they hosted a nice dinner for the guests with a surprise guest – World Superbike rider Chaz Davies – who was visiting on holiday.“I was really lucky it worked out that everyone was available to come the same day,” Paris said. “And then Josh started helping, and as you saw we had four of the five current MotoAmerica Champions here plus Josh and Chaz Davies showed up. I was just happy, it was a really good chance to thank people for what they did. Really, honestly, they saved my season, I wouldn’t have been able to keep racing.”

The pros - (left to right) Hayes, Beach, Carder and Beaubier - had some fun backyard racing.

It was also nice to be able to share their backyard moto playground.

“The deal with the backyard it’s something that Josh and I had both dreamed about. It’s one of those things when you are a kid and you are like, ‘when I grow up my house is going to have a water slide, or it’s going to have whatever…’ For both of us when we got involved with racing motorcycles, our house, we wanted to be able to have a place to ride,” she said. “To get to a point in our life to make where we could make that happen and now the best thing is sharing it with our friends. I told a couple of the girls today, it’s awesome but it’s no fun to ride around by yourself.”

So in addition to being able to thank those who kept her racing this year, it was an extra bonus to see them learn and share one of her passions – riding dirt track.

It was smiles all around and Paris (right) was happy to show her appreciation for her fans help with some dirt track fun.

“I have so much fun doing this, it’s such a big part of what makes me happy,” she said. “So it is really cool to share it and to be able to see those moments where it clicks. I felt like everyone who came here today made huge improvements in their riding. It was fun to watch them learn that.”

She added with a laugh: “It was also cool to see that other people think it was as much fun as I do, because you always wonder.”

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