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Dakar Rally rider dies after Stage 7 crash

Dakar Rally rider death

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Dakar Rally organizers announced Friday the death of a rider who was badly injured after crashing his motorbike. Pierre Cherpin died aboard a medical flight Thursday night from Saudi Arabia to France.

The 52-year-old Frenchman was being transported from Jeddah to Lille, four days after his crash during the seventh stage from Ha’il to Sakaka.

He was found unconscious after the crash, and the medical report revealed “serious head trauma.”

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Cherpin underwent surgery in Sakaka and was kept in an induced coma before being airlifted to a hospital in Jeddah, organizers said.

“The entire Dakar caravan would like to extend its sincere condolences to his family, relatives and friends,” the race said in a statement.

Cherpin had described himself as an amateur interested not in podium finishes but rather outdoor adventures, the statement said.

He was 77th in the general standings after six stages. This was his fourth Dakar Rally.

Here’s the statement from rally organizers:

During his transfer by medical plane from Jeddah to France, Pierre Cherpin died on January 10th from the injuries caused by his fall during the 7th stage from Ha’il to Sakaka.

The driver crashed at km 178, around 1:00 p.m. Doctors found him unconscious when they reached him by helicopter. Taken to Sakaka’s hospital, the medical report revealed a severe head trauma with loss of consciousness. Urgently operated in neurosurgery, he had since then been kept in an induced coma, his condition having remained stable over the past few days. He was airlifted from Sakaka to Jeddah’s hospital from where he was going to be transferred to Lille’s hospital.

Passionate about wide open spaces, Pierre Cherpin was participating in his fourth Dakar. His first participation was back in 2009, when the Dakar took place for the first time in South America. He signed up in the “malle moto” category and came back in 2012 still in the same category. He completed the race both times. He came back for a third time in 2015 but he had to give up after an engine failure.

Six years later, in 2021, he joined the same category, known now as the “Original by Motul”. He was driven by the curiosity of discovering a new continent. On the evening of the 6th stage, he was standing on the 77th position of the overall classification.

This 52-year-old entrepreneur and sailing enthusiast, had no other ambitions than to live an adventure, without really worrying about the podium: “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. Everything is exciting: riding the bike, living your passion, getting to know yourself”.

The entire Dakar caravan would like to extend its sincere condolences to his family, relatives and friends.