Paulo Goncalves dies after Dakar Rally crash

Hero Motorsport's 2015 runner-up Paulo Goncalves succumbs to injuries following an accident on the 2020 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia

Veteran rally raider Paulo Goncalves has died following an accident on the 2020 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.

The Portuguese rider, competing for the Hero Motorsports Rally Team, suffered a fatal accident at the 276km (171 mile) mark of Stage 7, the Riyadh – Wadi Al Dawasir test.

A statement from the organisers said he was pronounced dead in hospital after being found unconscious due to a cardiac arrest.

“Paulo Gonçalves, racing on motorbike no. 8, has passed away from a fall sustained 276 kilometres into today's special. The organisers received an alert at 10:08 and dispatched a medical helicopter that reached the biker at 10:16 and found him unconscious after going into cardiac arrest. Following resuscitation efforts in situ, the competitor was taken by helicopter to Layla Hospital, where he was sadly pronounced dead.

“The entire Dakar caravan would like to extend its sincere condolences to his friends and family.”

Goncalves was one of the Dakar’s ‘Legend’ riders having made his debut back in 2010 and has competed each season since.

His best result came in 2015 when he finished runner-up to Marc Coma on a Honda, one of four top ten finishes he’d claim over the next decade. Moreover, he was a cross-country rallies champion in 2013.

At the time of his accident, Goncalves was running 46th in the overall classification

Goncalves is the 71st person to be killed on the Dakar Rally and the 20th motorcyclists to succumb to injuries on the event, though this is the first since 2015 and comes in the first year of the rally being held in Saudi Arabia.

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