There is a great risk in participating in the world’s most dangerous race. And the greater the risk, the greater the reward. The Dakar Rally has always been considered the ultimate rally in the world for those who desire and strive for high speed – where racers risk their lives for the most coveted trophy in the world of motorsport.
The world of motorsport is not alien to dangers, but sometimes these dangers are too much to make sense, especially in long-distance, high-speed endurance racing. However, the trait of pushing limits and breaking boundaries is what distinguishes champions from normal people. And those who dare to push themselves are the ones who emerge as winners, but not without the risk to their own lives.
This year, the Dakar rally is being held in Saudi Arabia, and sadly, it has already claimed the life of legendary racer Paulo Gonçalves. Paulo, who went by the name ‘Speedy’ because of his ability to ride hard and fast, succumbed to his injuries caused by a fatal crash after 276kms into the seventh stage of the race.
He was found unconscious next to his bike and was taken by a helicopter to a hospital in Layla, where he was pronounced dead. This was Paulo’s 13th attempt at the Dakar Rally.
Paulo started his career in motocross, and over the years, he managed to collect 23 titles in motocross, endure, and supercross. He first participated in the Dakar Rally in 2006, and since then he had raced in Africa, South America, and Asia, winning three stages. In 2013, he was crowned champion of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, and in 2015, he was runner-up in the Dakar Rally. Paulo has been a member of the Honda, KTM, and Husqvarna teams before he was picked up by Hero MotoCorp.
His death came as a shock to everyone involved in the Dakar Rally. The organisers, after meeting the riders, decided to cancel the eight stage of the rally to give the riders time to mourn his death. Meanwhile, Hero MotoCorp has pulled out of the rally because the whole team is in deep distress over the loss of their friend.
We would like to pay our respect to the deceased and offer our deepest and heartfelt condolences to Paulo’s family, friends, and colleagues in their time of loss and sorrow.