South Africa

French motorcyclist Pierre Cherpin dies after Dakar Rally crash

French motorcycle rider Pierre Cherpin has died five days after crashing during the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally, organisers said on Friday.

The 52-year-old amateur, who was taking part unassisted in his fourth Dakar Rally, had undergone neurosurgery and was placed in a medically induced coma after the crash in Saudi Arabia.

“During his transfer by medical plane from Jeddah to France, Pierre Cherpin died from the injuries caused by his fall during the seventh stage from Ha’il to Sakaka on January 10,” organisers said in a statement.

He was the first fatality this year in an event that has claimed many lives since the first Paris-Dakar Rally was held in 1978.

Two motorcycle riders died after falls in last year’s rally — Portugal’s Paulo Goncalves during competition and Dutchman Edwin Straver some days later as a result of his injuries.

Organisers said Cherpin was found unconscious after being reached by the medical helicopter.


After surgery he was airlifted from Sakaka to hospital in Jeddah, from where he was being flown to the French city of Lille.

A two times finisher of the event, that ended in Jeddah on Friday, Cherpin had been 77th overall on the eve of his accident.

“I am an amateur, I don’t want to win but to discover landscapes that I would never have had the opportunity to see otherwise,” he had said before the event.

“Everything is exciting: riding the bike, living out your passion, getting to know yourself.”

Argentine Kevin Benavides, riding a Honda, became the first South American to win the motorcycle title after the 12th and final stage that ended in Jeddah.

In the motorcycle class, 2020 champion Ricky Brabec of the United States won the final stage to finish runner-up to team mate Benavides and complete Honda’s first one-two Dakar finish since 1987.

Australian Daniel Sanders finished in fourth spot, 38 minutes and 52 seconds behind Benavides.

Two-time champion Toby Price crashed out of the race on the ninth state earlier this week.


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