The careers of the majority of racing drivers are full of ups and downs. Sometimes an accident can tip everything upside down and a steering wheel enthusiast can be pushed in another direction. Valérie Chiasson had to resign herself to making this difficult decision in 2017.
The 28-year-old driver then took part in a race in the Porsche GT3 series at the Zandvoort circuit in the Netherlands.
During this ordeal, Chiasson is the victim of an accident. She has a slight collision with another pilot while the two pilots are side by side. After the impact, she is not worried about her health.
However, she does not know that a sword of Damocles has just been placed over her head.
“It wasn’t the biggest accident of my career, but it was the one that hurt me the most,” says Valérie Chiasson during a long interview with Le Journal. from Montreal.
“At the time, I didn’t realize the force of the impact. I took a hit in the wheels. I had a little trouble getting out of my car. “
It was his jaw that took the brunt of the impact. It has been moved, with the consequences that can lead to.
18 months of hell
During the following months, Chiasson lived through hell.
“My jaw is connected to the water balance in my ears,” she explains. After my accident, I had a big imbalance. I was often dizzy. “
Despite this serious health problem, Chiasson continued to run errands, but not without inconvenience.
“I threw up every time I got into the car, especially in the Porsche GT3 series. I was sick all the time. It completely unbalanced me.
“It was like having the effects of an ear infection all the time. It was unpleasant. The G-force I was taking in the Porsche class made my symptoms worse. “
During her last visit to the Montreal Grand Prix, in 2017, she had not been able to do promotional activities because she was in such bad shape. She would go to bed between sessions on the track.
Shortly after, the Quebecer suffered another hard blow. She is the victim of an intestinal obstruction. The doctors then decide to put the pilot to rest for three months.
“I had a swollen belly like a woman who is seven months pregnant. They arrested me because they couldn’t find what I had. “
Chiasson did not know it, but she had just started a long Stations of the Cross that would last 18 months.
“I can no longer count the scans and ultrasounds I have taken in Quebec and in Europe. I had a special device for my jaw throughout this time that allowed me to balance my fluids.
“On the other hand, the doctors confirmed to me that it will never come back to 100%. So I got used to my condition. “
During this difficult period, she decides to put an end to motor racing.
“During my last events, I felt a little worse and I was no longer able to deliver the same performances as before. It disappointed me so much, and on top of that, I didn’t feel well. ”
She recovered in the first months of 2019, but she needs to have her jaw replaced every three or four months.
Van Go to the rescue
During his years of racing, Chiasson has always maintained a passion for horses.
She got hooked on horseback riding at the age of 7, shortly before doing her first karting laps.
“I’ve always had horses in my life,” says the 31-year-old. I have already won the Quebec championships at the age of 12. I also participated in the Quebec Games.
“Then I sold everything to get into my racing career. In 2010, I decided to buy back some horses. I started to do dressage. It was my secret passion.
“That’s what made me forget everything. “
After establishing his primary residence in Luxembourg a few years ago, Chiasson brought his horse from Quebec. She wanted Van Go to be near her.
“When I had my accident, I started riding it again on a regular basis. It has helped me greatly to regain my physical form and my balance.
“It’s crazy the difference I noticed. Van Go is a special horse. We took several steps together and I learned a lot from him. “
On the track, Chiasson did not hesitate to take risks to gain positions in the standings. She believes, however, that equestrian sports are more dangerous than motor racing.
“A horse requires your 100%. If you are not fully focused, you are sure to fall. The horses I ride are pretty rock’n roll.
“I ride young horses and it’s very risky. It is more than the race. “
After several months of training, Chiasson regained a taste for competition. She regained the same adrenaline she had when she was behind the wheel.
“It’s all about the attitude. I am much less stressed than in my youth, but the excitement of competition is still very present. “
The bond between Chiasson and Van Go is very strong. It is no coincidence that the fact of getting back on horseback has allowed the athlete to regain his balance in all facets of his life.
She can now look to the future with optimism with her horses by her side.
Objective: the 2028 Olympics
Valérie Chiasson wants to try to go as far as possible in equestrian sports. She is even targeting participation in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
“That’s my goal,” explains the one who represents Canada in her competitions. My horse Quality 44 would be the right age to participate. “
However, to obtain its participation in the Olympics, the road will be long. She is well aware that she could have pitfalls in her path.
To give herself the best possible chance to participate in this planetary event, she wants to buy more horses. If she is able to train several in the coming years, she will have the choice of the grind with which she will make the process of Olympic qualifying. On the other hand, a beast of competition is not found on every street corner.
“Quality, which is of Hannovrian breed, it took me eight months to find it in an auction in Germany. When I bought it in April 2019, I went under my budget. My heart told me he was the horse of my life.
“However, I was not sure about my purchase. My coaches disagreed due to the fierce nature of Quality. The chemistry between a rider and her mount is crucial. “
Since August, Chiasson has resumed participating in dressage competitions.
“It’s the hardest part of horse riding. There is a lot of learning. It’s the equivalent of going to school all the time.
“It’s like figure skating in equestrian sports. You have compulsory figures to present and also a free program with music. “
It is in this specialty that she intends to take part in the Olympic Games. It will take him at least ten years of training and competitions around the world with his horse to achieve this. A colossal task which does not frighten him.
If she manages to achieve her goal, Valérie Chiasson can say that she is synonymous with perseverance and determination.