Due to the death of the Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves during Sunday’s stage seven of the 2020 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia, stage eight was canceled.
Officials canceled Monday’s stage as a tribute to Goncalves, who was competing in his 13th Dakar Rally. He died Sunday after crashing his Hero MotoSports 450RR Rally bike at mile 176. He was in 46th position overall.
Dakar Officials say a medical helicopter was dispatched, and medics found Goncalves unconscious after going through cardiac arrest. He was flown to Layla Hospital in Saudi Arabi, where he was officially pronounced dead.
The last motorcycle rider to die during the “world’s toughest endurance race” was Michal Hernik, who was found dead during stage three of the 2015 Dakar Rally. He didn’t crash and died of hyperthermia and dehydration
Goncalves, born May 2, 1979, spent the last six seasons competing with the Monster Energy Honda team before joining the Indian manufacturer Hero.
Goncalves earned three Dakar stage wins with Honda, and finished runner-up in 2015 behind the now-retired Marc Coma (KTM). Gonclaves clinched the title of FIM Cross-Country Rallies world champion in an epic triumph in Morocco. In 2014, he finished second in the world championship, and third in 2015 and 2017.
Honda offered the following comment about Goncavles.
“I am shocked, and deeply saddened at the news of Paulo Gonçalves passing away,” says HRC President Yoshishige Nomura.
“Paulo joined the during 2013 season, the year that Honda returned to the Dakar, and played an invaluable role in enhancing the racing bike’s competitiveness. His friendly, jolly personality made him a driving force for the team and charmed motorsports fans worldwide. HRC appreciates Paulo’s tremendous achievements and his immeasurable contribution as a Honda rider, and expresses its deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
Leading the Dakar Rally is Goncavles former teammate Ricky Brabec. The Californian suffered engine troubles and subsequent DNFs in the past two rallies while leading. This year – now more than ever as a tribute to Goncavles – Brabec will look to finally take the title from KTM, which claimed the past 18 Dakar titles.
2020 Dakar Rally Overall Standings (after 8 of 12 stages)
|1||BRABEC Ricky||9||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||28:25’01|
|2||QUINTANILLA Pablo||5||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||+24’48|
|3||CORNEJO José Ignacio||17||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||+27’01|
|4||PRICE Toby||1||AUS||KTM Factory Racing Team||+28’44|
|5||BARREDA Joan||12||SPA||Monster Energy Honda Team||+29’39|
|6||WALKNER Matthias||2||AUT||KTM Factory Racing Team||+33’04|
|7||BENAVIDES Luciano||16||ARG||KTM Factory Racing Team||+38’58|
|8||HOWES Skyler||59||USA||Klymciw Racing||+01:15’02|
|9||CAIMI Franco||22||ARG||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||+01:15’31|
|10||SVITKO Stefan||19||SLO||Slovnaft Team||+01:19’41|