newsdog Facebook

Goncalves' team Hero withdraws from Dakar

Motor Sport 2020-01-13 15:07:00

Goncalves joined Hero in the middle of 2019 after a long stint at Honda, which included finishing runner-up to Marc Coma in the 2015 Dakar.

The Portuguese rider had scored three top 10 stage finishes when he suffered a cardiac arrest following a crash on the 546km Riyadh-Wadi Al Dawasir test. He was airlifted in a helicopter to Layla Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Following the incident, it has emerged that Hero will sit out the rest of the Dakar, and all its trucks have already departed for Jeddah.

"It's sad, but we all felt that we all need to take some space to grieve our friend and teammate," a spokesperson for the team told

Monday's stage for bikes and quads had already been cancelled by Dakar organiser ASO.

Hero, which was fielding a four-strong line-up in Dakar, had been hit by a string of mechanical issues in the first week of the marathon. CS Santosh was the only rider in the team to be still classified in overall rankings after Stage 7, occupying 35th position.

Goncalves’ brother-in-law and teammate Joaquim Rodrigues retired on the opening stage and has since been competing in the Dakar Experience class, while Sebastian Buhler also suffered a DNF in Stage 6.

Hero has finished inside the top 10 in Dakar in the last three years, with its last two standout results coming courtesy of Oriol Mena - who was forced to skip this year’s edition due to an injury and was replaced by Buhler.

Related video