VALLELY RACING TO ADD A NEW DIMENSION TO THE 8 HOURS AT DAYTONA
Daytona Beach, Fla...When the final round of the 2008 SunTrust MOTO-ST Series, the 8 Hours At Daytona, roars to life at Daytona International Speedway, October 17-18, it will boast a new dimension. For the first time ever, this spectacular series finale will introduce an all-female team in the Buell Motorcycle Company SuperSport Twins Class (SST).
Fielded by Tom and Gail Vallely of Vallely Racing and sponsored by Jim Walker Cycle World of Daytona, this team will showcase the racing talents of Melissa Paris of Gulfport, Miss., Marie-Josee Boucher from Montreal, Canada and Genevieve Lesieur who hails from Val-Belair, Quebec.
"I am so excited," says Paris, who is the wife of well-known AMA champion Josh Hayes. "I have a fair amount of endurance experience and I love Daytona. I think we have a chance to do really well. I have met both my teammates and they are both super cool and super talented. To do well at Daytona you have to be consistent and smooth and not let yourself make any mistakes. While I know the track, this will be the first time I have ridden a Suzuki SV1000S and the first time I have raced with Marie-Josee and Genevieve. It will be a bit of a learning curve, but one that I think we can easily put together."
Born and raised in San Diego, Calif., Paris has been racing for the past three years. In fact, she just took her first 250GP winner at Miller Motorsports Park a couple of weeks ago. Her two-wheeled skill is evident and there is no doubt she is up to the job at hand.
Equally as excited to be racing in the 8 Hours At Daytona is Marie-Josee Boucher. Born in Quebec City and now a resident of Montreal, Boucher started racing in 2003 and quickly rose to prominence in the Pro Honda Oils Women's Cup, which runs in Quebec and Ontario. From there she started racing with the men in regional events and last year was one of the stars of the national Amateur 600 Sport Bike Championship. Boucher finished fourth in the standings with two third place results to her credit.
This season, Boucher moved up to the Pro class plus the Superbike class. Mixing it up with Canada's best professional racers has been an eye-opener, but Boucher relished the experience.
"Truth be known, I love speed," says the 28-year old Canadian. "I have never competed at Daytona, but I can't wait to get on the track. It should be a really good race."
It's perhaps not surprising Boucher has developed a love of moving fast, since she's never stayed in one place for very long. Because of her father Roland's work as a project manager with Hydro Quebec International and Atomic Energy of Canada the Boucher family was constantly on the move and Boucher has lived in Argentina, Cameroon and Romania.
"We traveled a lot because of Dad," she explains. "It was very educational. Family is all important to me. My parents and my brother and sister are very supportive of me and my racing career and that means everything. My dad likes seeing me race and he knows that my goal is to have fun. I love it when he is at the race track."
Rounding out this outstanding female trio is Genevieve Lesieur who has been racing since 2003.
Growing up, Lesieur always liked out-of-the-ordinary sports and since her teenage years she dreamed of having her own bike. At age 22, she couldn't wait any longer and used her entire salary to buy her first motorcycle.
In 1999, she did her first laps around a race track. She liked it, but she didn't really start racing until 2003 when she entered the very first Women's Racing Championship in Quebec.
"I knew on the very first lap that racing was for me", she explains, "but I never thought that this new passion would become a way of life."
Finely honing her skill, Lesieur has earned numerous awards and accolades over the past five years, including 34 podiums and 45 top five finishes. In 2004, she was one of three women ever to be invited to become a professional on a Quebec track. During that same year, she was the winner of an award for Best Athlete of the Year given during the Revue Sportive of the region of Quebec.
This season, in the Canadian Women's Cup Challenge Championship, Lesieur took 2nd overall in the Expert championship behind the pro pilot Marie-Josee Boucher.
"I am extremely happy with my 2008 season; I improved a lot on all tracks and already am looking forward to the 2009 season! But, right now, I have my sights set on Daytona."Participating in the 8 Hours At Daytona has one of my dreams," she explains. "I am very enthusiastic and can wait for the race to get underway.
Three extremely determined riders, one expertly well-prepared Suzuki motorcycles and one of the best crews in the industry.....that is what Vallely Racing/Jim Walker Cycle World of Daytona is all about....and that is what will drive them to Victory Lane this coming weekend.