Melissa Paris Breaks Leg at VIR

Henny Ray Abrams | August 16, 2009

Markbilt Racing’s Melissa Paris, the wife of Yamaha’s Josh Hayes, suffered a broken lower leg in the first attempt to start Sunday’s Daytona SportBike race at Virginia International Raceway.Paris was in the wrong place at the wrong time when a chain reaction accident occurred in turn one just after the start. The accident appeared to have been caused by Brent Lyskawa, who got into the corner too hot and took down five other riders, including Paris. Only Paris and Lyskawa needed medical attention and Lyskawa’s injuries were minor.

Paris broke both the tibia and fibula of her right leg just above the ankle. The break was clean, according to Hayes, who saw the accident prior to his own American Superbike race, which he won.”That’s never easy,” Hayes said about racing after the accident. “No one likes seeing someone they love get hurt. Melissa’s a racer and she’s tough too. When I saw her in the medical center she hadn’t shed a tear yet. I heard she cussed everybody a little bit. She’s tough, you know.”When I got into this I knew part of being a motorcycle racer is sometimes you fall down, you break bones, things like that happen. Had she hit her head, something like that, it might have been a tougher story today. But a broken leg is, it’s terrible, but it’s part of this sport. As soon as we’re done here I’m going to go check on my wife and see what we’ve got to do to make her comfortable. Had I not won today, it would have been really tough to show my face to her again after yesterday and I’m really glad I could do this, and do it for her.”Paris was scheduled to be operated on by Dr. Arthur Ting on Monday. She and Hayes were scheduled to leave for San Francisco on a 6:30 a.m. flight.

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.