Spanish motorcyclist Carles Falcon has died from the serious injuries he suffered last week on the second stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia, his team said Monday. “On Monday, January 15, Carles passed away. The medical team has confirmed that the neurological damage caused by the cardio-respiratory arrest at the time of the accident is irreversible,” the TwinTrail Racing Team said in a statement.
“Carles was a smiley person, always active, who enjoyed with passion everythign he did, especially motorcycles. He left us doing something that was his dream, racing the Dakar,” it added.
The high-speed stage over jagged rocks and winding sand dunes in the Saudi desert was almost complete on January 7 when the experienced off-road rider from Tarragona crashed.
The 45-year-old was immediately taken to hospital in Saudi Arabia in a medical helicopter, and later flown back to Spain where he had been in intensive care.
Twin Trail Racing said at the time that Falcon, a computer engineer by training, had suffered a fracture of his vertebrae.
The Dakar Rally is one of the world’s longest and most demanding endurance races and this year’s 8,000km long 12-stage marathon ends at the Red Sea on January 19.
Meanwhile, Mattias Ekstrom grabbed victory after Sebastien Loeb got lost on stage eight of the Dakar Rally on Monday while the Benavides brothers took the top two places in the bike competition.
Frenchman Loeb led by two-and-half minutes after 366km of the 458km stage from Al Duwadimi to Hail but went off course, had to double back and lost time.
Swede Ekstrom, whose chances of overall victory were wiped out by suspension problems the previous day, swept into the lead and finished 2min 45sec ahead of Audi team-mate Stephane Peterhansel. Another Frenchman, Guerlain Chicherit, was third at 3min 10sec.