Rally racer Paulo Goncalves has passed away while running the Stage 7 special at Dakar.
Details still aren’t exactly clear, but it seems Goncalves crashed at the 276-km mark, and died as a result of his injuries. As per Dakar’s website:
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.
It was Goncalves’ 13th running of the Dakar; his debut in the rally came in 2006, and had four top-10 finishes over the years. After stints with other teams, including several years on the factory Honda squad, Goncalves was in his first year as a part of the Hero factory team, and had already gone to great lengths to stay in this year’s race. He swapped his Hero’s blown engine out singlehandedly in the desert in Stage 3 of the 2020 race, and despite a huge time penalty that put him in 46th overall, was still pushing hard for good results in each stage since. It was what spectators and racers alike had come to expect from the likeable Portuguese rider. His time at Honda was marked by grit and determination in the face of difficulty, and he’d always been a well-liked rider in other events due to his never-give-up attitude and sportsmanship.
Goncalves’ best finish at Dakar was 2015, when he was second to Marc Coma. He was the FIM’s 2013 Cross Country Rally championship winner.
Featured image: Dakar