Portuguese motorcyclist Paulo Gonçalves killed after Dakar Rally crash in Saudi Arabia
A sad day for the sporting world as the news from Saudi Arabia is confirmed that Portuguese motorcyclist Paulo Goncalves was killed during stage seven of the Dakar Rally in the Kingdom.
The 40-year-old veteran was taking part in his 13th Dakar and suffered the fatal accident after 276 kilometres (171 miles) from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to Wadi Al Dawasir, according to the BBC report.
The official statment from Dakar on its website reads:
"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. 40-year-old Paulo Gonçalves was taking part in his 13th Dakar.
He made his debut in 2006 and had finished four times in the top 10, including an impressive performance as runner-up to Marc Coma in 2015. Paulo Gonçalves, the 2013 cross-country rallies world champion, was sitting in 46th place overall after stage 6 of the 2020 Dakar.
The entire Dakar caravan would like to extend its sincere condolences to his friends and family."
Tributes have started to pour in for the motorcyclist nicknamed "Speedy Goncalves".
Our hearts and prayers go out to the rider Paulo Goncalves and his loved ones. Unfortunate events such as this are always a tragedy, touching us all on a basic human level. May god be with you all.— (@AbdulazizTF) January 12, 2020
The great Paulo Gonçalves just passed away in the Dakar...he was an example as a pilot and as a man...and a good friend! My deepest condolences to his family and to the Portuguese federation!— Jorge Viegas (@jorgepviegas) January 12, 2020
The Dakar Rally is often considered be the most dangerous and physically exhausting races in the world. The race was inaugurated in 1978 and took place across 10,000 miles from Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal.