Motorcycle Racing News Dakar/FIM Cross Country Rallies Paulo Gonçalves Dies in Dakar Rally Crash: 2013 Rally World Champion

Paulo Gonçalves Dies in Dakar Rally Crash: 2013 Rally World Champion

Competing in his 13th Dakar Rally, 2013 Cross-Country Rallies World Champion Paulo Gonçalves was killed in a crash at the 276-kilometer mark of Stage 7. He was quickly airlifted to nearby Layla Hospital, but doctors were unable to revive him. Riding for Hero MotoSports Team Rally in the Saudi Arabian desert, the 40-year-old Gonçalves had previously ridden for the Monster Energy Honda Team, scoring a runner-up finish in the 2015 Dakar Rally.

Paulo Gonçalves Dies in Dakar Crash
Paulo Gonçalves.

Gonçalves had success in the Silk Way Rally and the Rallye du Maroc on the new Hero rally motorcycle, and went into the 2020 Dakar Rally optimistic: “Now I’ve moved to Hero Motorsports, and I’m excited for this new challenge. Sometimes you need to make changes, to find extra motivation maybe. I’m happy so far. I’ve only done two races but had a lot of very good stages; I won a stage in Morocco and made it into the top-three five times at the Silk Way. That’s really good for a start with a new team. Hero is like a family!”

“On arriving we heard the news about Paulo,” said American Ricky Brabec, riding for the Monster Energy Honda Team and leading in the standings after Stage 7. “We all know that motorcycling is a dangerous sport, but today is a really sad day for the people of Cross-Country Rallies. Our thoughts are with the family. The race standings don’t mean anything anymore. It’s secondary. Life goes way beyond sport.”

“It has been an extremely sad day for the rally family,” Red Bull KTM Rally Team Manager Jordi Viladoms said, “and of course we send our condolences to Paulo’s family and friends. He was very much loved in the paddock—not only a great rider but also an amazing person and a legend of our sport. Obviously, the news has shocked us deeply, but no one more so than Toby [Price], who was the first to reach Paulo after his crash.”

“First of all,” Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Rally Team Manager Pela Renet said, “I would like to wish Paulo’s family and friends my deepest sympathy on what has been a terrible day for all of rally sport. It’s very difficult to come to terms with what has happened today and, for sure, it affects all of us in the bivouac. Out of respect for Paulo’s family, tomorrow’s stage has been canceled. I believe it is the right decision and gives the riders some time to come to terms with what has happened. We know the risks in our sport, but we always hope that something like this will never happen. However, we have to accept this now, and in honor of Paulo we have to continue.”

Gonçalves had been having a tough time in the 2020 Dakar Rally. “ The stage today was really, really difficult,” Gonçalves said, “The last 200 kilometer was off-piste with lots of undulation, and the navigation was also difficult. So, I tried to push as much as possible, but the other riders really pushed hard. For me, it was a really tough stage, but I’ve finished without issues, so I’m happy. We’re on the Dakar, and on the Dakar, it’s important to get to the finish. I had a big mechanical problem, and I was almost out of the race, but I never give up. “

Paulo Gonçalves Dies In Crash
Paulo Gonçalves. 1979-2020.

Paulo Gonçalves was born on February 5, 1979, in the coastal town of Esposende in northwest Portugal.

Don Williams
Don Williams
With 50 years of riding experience, Don Williams is a fan of all kinds of motorcycles. He enjoys sport bikes, cruisers, dirt bikes, touring bikes, adventure bikes, dual sport bikes, and rideable customs. Ask Don what his favorite bike is and he will tell you, "Whatever bike I'm on."

2021 Husqvarna 4-Stroke Motocross Lineup First Look: 5 Fast Facts

Husqvarna is offering three four-stroke motocrossers for 2021—the FC 450, FC 350, and FC 250. The three models share the same chassis, with the...

2020 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard Review: Stripped-Down

The 2020 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard serves several purposes. Its stripped-down nature makes it an ideal starting point for a custom build, as it...

Cardo Freecom 4+ Review: Motorcycle Bluetooth Communication

This is the story of Neil and the three Bluetooth communication devices. Once upon a time, I spent a ton of money on a...

2021 Yamaha YZ Lineup First Look: The Dirty Dozen Racers

Yamaha brings 12 YZ models for racing in 2021, running from the neophyte-ready YZ65 to the new supercross-platform YZ450F Monster Energy Yamaha Racing Edition....

2021 Beta 300 RX First Look: Limited-Edition Motocross Motorcycle

Beta, the boutique Italian motorcycle manufacturer known for its enduro, dual-sport, and observed trials motorcycles, is making a move into the American motocross market...

Pirelli Sport Demon Street Tires: Long-Term Review Begins

The Metzeler Lasertec tires that arrived as standard equipment on my 2015 Triumph T214 Bonneville had served me well. But, with 7,012 miles on...