PIERRE CHERPIN has died at the age of 52 following injuries sustained in the Dakar Rally.
Organisers of this year’s event in Saudi Arabia confirmed the tragic news on Friday morning following his crash earlier in the week.
Cherpin was found unconscious during Sunday’s seventh stage across the Arabian Desert.
After undergoing surgery on ‘severe head trauma’ in the town of Sakaka, he had been placed in a coma before travelling back to France for further treatment.
The 52-year-old then passed away during a medical plane flight from the Saudi city of Jeddah.
A Dakar Rally statement read: “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.
“The driver crashed at km 178, around 1:00 pm.
“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.”
The Frenchman was racing on a Husqvarna 450 bike in his fourth Dakar Rally.
His death comes after two competitors lost their lives in the 2020 event, Portuguese motorcyclist Paulo Goncalves and Dutch rider Edwin Straver.
The Dakar statement added: “This 52-year-old entrepreneur and sailing enthusiast, had no other ambitions than to live an adventure, without really worrying about the podium.
“[He once said]: ‘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.”
More to follow