Hero Motosports Team Rally’s Paulo Goncalves during stage 5
Hero Motosports Team Rally’s Paulo Goncalves during stage 5. Image Credit: Reuters

Wadi Al Dawasir: The eighth stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally in the bikes and quads categories scheduled for Monday has been cancelled after the death of Portuguese motorcycle racer Paulo Goncalves in an accident during stage seven.

“After meeting the riders and making a decision together with the entire motorbike family, the organisers have decided to cancel Stage 8 for the motorbikes and quads category, which was supposed to take place on a loop course around Wadi Al Dawasir, in order to give the riders time to mourn their friend,” Dakar Rally organisers said in a statement.

The 40-year-old racer went off his bike at a high speed at the 263-kilometre mark between Riyadh and Wadi Al Dawasir in what was the longest stage in this year’s edition of the off-road race.

Paramedics arrived at the scene of the crash and tried to resuscitate the racer before he was airlifted to Lalya Hospital, near the capital, where he was pronounced dead. Dakar Rally organisers said he died from cardiac arrest.

This marked the first death of a Dakar Rally participant in five years. The last fatality was Polish motorcyclist Michal Hernik, who died of dehydration.