A pall was cast over the final day of the Dakar Rally by the announcement that bike competitor Pierre Cherpin had died from injuries suffered in a crash during the seventh stage from Ha’il to Sakaka on January 10.
Doctors found the 52-year-old Cherpin unconscious when they reached the crash site by helicopter. The Frenchman was airlifted to hospital in Sakaka with severe head trauma. Following surgery, he was kept in an induced coma, with his condition having remained stable over the past few days. However, race organizers announced that Cherpin had passed away after being transferred from Sakaka to a hospital in Jeddah on Thursday.
Cherpin was participating in his fourth Dakar, his first coming was back in 2009, when the event took place for the first time in South America. He signed up in the unassisted bikers’ category and came back in 2012 still in the same category. He completed the marathon both times. He came back for a third time in 2015 but he had to give up after an engine failure.
An entrepreneur and sailing enthusiast, Cherpin had no other ambitions for the event than to experience an adventure, without really worrying about where he finished. “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,” he explained. “Everything is exciting: riding the bike, living out your passion, getting to know yourself.”