Dakar Rally

Death of French motorcyclist Pierre Cherpin announced as Peterhansel wins 14th Dakar crown

Pierre Cherpin had competed in four times in the Dakar Rally.
Pierre Cherpin had competed in four times in the Dakar Rally. - ASO/AFP
3 min

The death of French motorcycle rider Pierre Cherpin was announced on Friday hours before the 43rd Dakar Rally concluded in Jeddah after 13 days of competition. 

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The 52-year-old amateur, who was taking part unassisted in his fourth Dakar rally, fell while racing in the seventh stage between Ha’il and Sakaka in Saudi Arabia on 10 January.

Organisers said that Pierre Cherpin died during his transfer from Jeddah to France.

Cherpin, competing in his fourth rally, was the first fatality this year.

"I don’t want to win but to discover landscapes that I would never have had the opportunity to see otherwise," he said before the event.

"Everything is exciting: riding the bike, living out your passion, getting to know yourself."

Five days after Cherpin's crash, his compatriot Stéphane Peterhansel won the race for the 14th time.

The 55-year-old triumphed in the car category for the eighth time to add to his six in the bike race.

"For sure, it is one or two more records for me: 14 victories, on three continents and also on the anniversary of my first victory 30 years ago," said Peterhansel.

Stéphane Peterhansel (Mini), savours his triumph after winning the Dakar race, Jeddah, 15 January 2021.
Stéphane Peterhansel (Mini), savours his triumph after winning the Dakar race, Jeddah, 15 January 2021. FRANCK FIFE AFP

First victory is sweetest

"But the first victory on the motorcycle is my favourite because it was the one that I dreamed of a lot and now ... it’s really a bonus. Winning is always a big emotion but the first victory was the best one."

Honda rider Kevin Benavides claimed the motorcycle race.

He finished the 247-kilometre 12th stage between Yanbu and Jeddah two minutes and 17 seconds behind Honda teammate and defending champion Ricky Brabec to become the first South American to win the motorcycle race.

"My dream was also to make history," said the 32-year-old from Argentina. "And now I am the first South American guy to win the Dakar. That is amazing for me."

It was Honda's first one-two since Cyril Neveu brandished the crown ahead of Edi Orioli in 1987.

Manu Andujar triumphed in the Quads category and Francisco López won the lightweight vehicle race for the second time while Dmitry Sotnikov took the truck race.

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