The 2015 Dakar Rally Claims Its First Fatality

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The Isle of Man TT and the Dakar Rally are two events we cover here at Asphalt & Rubber where we know statistically we will have to report a racer’s death each year.

Unfortunately, those numbers hold true for the 2015 Dakar Rally, as Polish competitor Michal Hernik died while racing Stage 3 of the course, between San Juan and Chilecito.

Hernik’s body was found at kilometer 206, roughly 300 meters off the course’s path. Tests performed later by doctors suggest that Hernik succumbed to dehydration and hypothermia.

According to the press release, race management detected the loss of Hernik’s Irritrack signal, and was informed that Hernik had not completed the special stage at 15:16, at which point Race Direction decided to start a search for the him at 15:23.

An ambulance helicopter found Hernik 300 meters off the route at 16:03, but unfortunately the on-board doctor could only confirm the rider’s death.

This was the 39-year-old’s first Dakar Rally, but he had previously participated in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in 2014 and the Morocco Rally in 2013, both of which he completed.

Our condolences go out to his friends, family, and team.

Source: Dakar

Jensen Beeler

Despite his best efforts, Jensen is called one of the most influential bloggers in the motorcycle industry, and sometimes consults for motorcycle companies, whether they've solicited his expertise or not.