Tragedy struck the 2020 Dakar Rally when Portuguese motorbike rider Paulo Goncalves passed away following a crash. According to the organizers, the accident took place during the rally’s seventh stage on Sunday. The 40-year-old got involved in the fatal accident after completing 276 kilometers from Riyadh to Wadi Al Dawasir.
As per a statement from the Dakar Rally website, “The organizers received an alert at 10:08 (0708 GMT) and dispatched a medical helicopter that reached the biker at 10:16 and found him unconscious after going into cardiac arrest.”
The statement went on to state that attempts at resuscitation were made before the fallen competitor was taken by helicopter to Layla Hospital. Tragically, the Portuguese veteran was pronounced dead, to the dismay of the officials and fellow riders and competitors.
The 2020 Dakar Rally was supposed to be Goncalves’ 13th edition after making his debut in 2006. His best-ever position at the prestigious race was when he took second behind Marc Coma in 2015.
Prior to the rally, the Honda rider was recovering from another injury. Apparently, he suffered from a fractured spleen in a crash in his native Portugal in December.
After undergoing surgery, he managed to recover in time for the rally. Speaking after the surgery, he admitted that he was more than happy just to be able to race at the event.
In terms of his results, Goncalves placed 46th in the overall bike standings after six stages and looked like he was steadily climbing up the order.
The passing of Paulo Goncalves only goes to show that a race like the Dakar Rally will take no prisoners. The last fatality at the event was in 2016 when an Argentinian driver was killed in a traffic accident involving the assistance vehicle of racing driver, Lionel Baud.