Chantal Provencher Pursues Her Dream of Racing with Determination – DTD Exclusive


“Unease of what lies ahead is gradually replaced by excitement and a simple desire to see what you can do as the day progresses.” I think this is what makes Chantal Provoncher tick.

Chantal Provencher has always dreamed of racing since she was a little girl. Growing up, in a household where racing was a big part of the family’s life, she would often pretend to be a race car driver herself, zooming around the house.

Her dad was a crewman on one of the local Modified teams of Jacques Campagna, while her mom hand painted the numbers and/or sponsors on numerous cars over the years.

As she grew older, Chantal’s love of racing intensified, and when she turned 13, she recollects being hoisted onto the side pod of a Jacques Campagna’s DIRTcar by her father, who served as part of the race team, and then being given an unforgettable experience as they tried out the vehicle. That was an amazing day with this young girl riding along on the car, feeling all the power and freedom as the air rushed over her face. Chantal knew she wanted to race.

But Chantal’s life changed dramatically the following year when she started studying jujutsu at the age of 14. Before discovering this martial art, life was difficult for her. However, jujutsu provided her with a sense of purpose and a new-found confidence in herself. She quickly became enamored with the discipline, spending countless hours in the dojo perfecting her technique and honing her skills. Over time, her dedication and hard work paid off. She earned various belts and accolades within the jujutsu community. Beyond the physical benefits, Chantal also found that jujutsu had a profound impact on her mental and emotional well-being, teaching her valuable lessons about discipline, focus, and resilience.

Over the next decade, Chantal had several life-changing moments. The biggest was meeting her life partner, Dany Bilodeau, a local auto mechanic in their hometown village of Victoriaville, Quebec.

Raising a family, while studying towards a degree in physical education, kept Chantal busy. During these years, she also kept up with her discipline in jujutsu and, at one point, was asked to join the Olympic team tryouts in jujutsu. Racing was the furthest thing from her mind during these times.

But late in the 1990s, Dany began dabbling in snow drags with skidoos, which soon progressed into racing Mini Mods at their local dirt track in 1998.

By 2000, the whole family was thrust into the world of Dirt track racing after Dany began camping a car in the Sportsman Modified division. Around this same time, Chantal and Yan began racing in snow-cross during the winter months.

Two thousand and one was a big year in racing. Dany won many races that season. It pushed all the family to work hard, as the team was small and everyone had to chip in.

Two-thousand and two was a repeat of 2001, with many feature wins, but in the end, Dany won the Sportsman Modified title at Autodrome Granby.

As racing became more intertwined with the family, son Yan began racing motocross. This left little time for anything else in the family but racing and work.

As time moved forward, Chantal wanted more family time, away from racing, which Dany wanted as well. Sundays were then designated family days and Dany would prepare a Sunday breakfast for all, to get these special days started.

As the years passed, Chantal always reflected on her childhood dream of racing, and in 2009, Chantal bought a Lightning Sprint car but only competed in a few races that season. The following year, however, Chantal was all in and raced the entire season in the Lightning Sprint.

The three seasons that Chantal was in Lighting Sprints were full of learning challenges, with some podium finishes. But the good came with some tough and big crashes, which left her dealing with some serious injuries.

By late 2014, it was time for Chantal to move up into the Sportsman Modified division. Late in the season, Chantal acquired a car and began the transition.

In 2015, Chantal had a full racing schedule in the Sportsman division that year, but in addition to competing, she also had to provide moral support for her son Yan as he began competing in 360 Sprint cars that same season.

Over the next few years, the lives of Chantal, Dany, and Yan became increasingly hectic as they pursued their passions for racing and teaching. Chantal dedicated her weekends to racing her Sportsman Modified while also teaching during the week. Dany managed the family auto shop and raced the 358, balancing his responsibilities with his love of speed. Yan also pursued his passion for racing, competing in 360 Sprint car events. There were even times when all three raced in the same weekend event, adding an extra layer of excitement to their busy lives. Despite the busyness, the family remained close and supportive, bonding over their shared love of racing and the joy it brought them.

In 2018, Chantal moved up into the 358 Modified ranks, which was a happy time as she now could race against and alongside Dany. That same season, Yan also joined the 358 Modified ranks. But for Chantal, things were about to take a turn for the worse as Dany was diagnosed with cancer and began treatment in 2019.

For the next few years, racing was therapy. For Chantal, it was a way to escape what was unfolding with Dany’s illness. “Life just seemed to be so surreal during this time,” Chantal explained.

In September 2020, Chantal lost her partner Dany to the dreadful disease, but with her loss, she vowed to carry on racing as Dany had wished. All of this in the middle of a pandemic. It was a tough winter for Chantal, but she pressed on.

The first thing in order was to grieve what the past two years had presented her, but she picked up her tools and began working on her car in the solitude of her race shop.

Part by part, bit by bit, Chantal put her car together for the 2021 season. That season was a blur for Chantal, who had to deal with her loss while also wanting to carry on racing. It was therapeutic and a way to escape.

By 2022, Chantal had put in an enormous effort to master the components of a racing car because the responsibility lay entirely on her. Although her team was small, its members were highly devoted and Chantal resolved to attain as many related skills as she could since she would be operating independently.

It will be fourteen years this season that Chantal has strapped on the helmet. Overall, this upcoming race season promises to be busy and action-packed. With races at Granby, Drummond, and possibly Airborne Speedway, as well as some special shows, she will have plenty of opportunities to push herself to the limit. It will undoubtedly be a challenging and demanding season, but with her talent, determination, and support team, Chantal is sure to make the most of every opportunity, but more importantly, on herself, proving that this challenge was worth the effort.

In the world of racing, success is often measured by wins. However, it’s important to remember that racing is not always about coming in first. It’s about taking on the challenge and finishing the race, no matter what the outcome may be.

Racing is a demanding and competitive sport that requires a great deal of skill, focus, and determination. It’s not uncommon for racers to face numerous obstacles and setbacks along the way, from mechanical issues to unexpected incidents on the track. In these situations, it’s easy to become discouraged or disheartened, but it’s important to keep pushing forward and never give up. This is what Chantal is about.

In Dany’s absence, her bravery and dedication have boosted her achievements. Chantal’s ambition to grow mentally has been uplifting. This proves to be extraordinarily essential for the motivation of a racing driver.

In recent times, she has also taken on long-distance rallies, like the Rally Adventure Georgia and the Alyssa Rally in Tunisia to broaden her racing experience.

At the end of the day, what matters most is the journey, the lessons learned, and the memories made. Racing provides an opportunity for individuals to test their limits, develop their skills and experience the thrill of pushing themselves to the edge. This can be therapy. While winning is certainly a great feeling, there is something equally rewarding about simply finishing a race and knowing that you gave it your all.

Chantal Provencher has given her all to this sport. Racing is not always about winning; it’s about taking on the challenge, facing obstacles head-on, and finishing the race with pride, regardless of the outcome. It’s about pushing yourself to be the best you can be and enjoying the journey along the way.

 Special thanks to her crew:

 Danny Hebert

 Rejean Corbin

 Alain Labbé

 Sébastien Poirier

 Yvan Lambert

 Special thanks to her sponsors”

 Blondeau Métal Sailor

 Moon Navette BP

 Sd Performance

 Primeau Performance

 Usinage Précision Bilodeau