The 2020 Dakar Rally has been hit hard with the unfortunate news of the death of Hero MotoSports Rally Team’s Paulo Goncalves in Stage 7.

Portuguese Goncalves is a veteran of Dakar, with the 2020 event in Saudi Arabia being his 13th and first with Indian manufacturer, Hero. His best result came in 2017 when he finished sixth overall with HRC Honda Rally Team.

Goncalves had a sound run in 2020 Dakar so far apart from Stage 3, which set him aback. He steadily improved to 46th overall until Stage 6. With the rest day completed on Saturday, racing resumed on Sunday with Stage 7 in the desert.

Having made it through 276 km of Sunday’s stage, Goncalves had a fall, when the organisers received an alert at 10:08 local time. A medical team reached the spot in eight minutes and found him unconscious after he had a cardiac arrest.

Goncalves was taken to the Layla Hospital where he was was pronounced dead. The Portuguese veteran was an unofficial leader of the Hero outfit, which has Joaquim Rodrigues, CS Santosh and Sebastian Buhler, in a four-bike effort.

The official statement from Dakar read as:

“Paulo Goncalves, racing on motorbike no. 8, has passed away from a fall sustained 276 kilometres into today’s special. 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.”

From everyone at, we pay our condolences to his family