Toby Price rocked by tragic death of fellow rider
AUSTRALIAN motorsport great Toby Price has told of his distress after finding a fellow Dakar Rally competitor with fatal injuries.
In an emotional social media tribute, Price said he was "dehydrated from tears" after Portuguese competitor Paulo Goncalves suffered life-ending injuries in a crash.
Price was the first rider to find Goncalves about 275km into the rally's seventh stage in Saudi Arabia.
Goncalves, 40, was taking part in his 13th Dakar campaign and is the 25th competitor to lose their life since the event's inception in 1979.
Rally officials later cancelled the eighth stage for motorcycles and quad vehicles to allow riders to process the tragic events before finishing the world's most gruelling motorsports challenge.
Price, 32, finished the stage an hour and 23 minutes slower than stage winner Joan Barreda, almost dashing his chances of being able to claim back-to-back Dakar victories.
However, Dakar officials said the Gold Coast rider would have his position recalculated, acknowledging his sacrifice to stop to help a fallen friend.
"At the moment I'm not even worried about the result, I couldn't care," Price said.
"We are human and this is nothing but just a race.
"I would give up all my wins to have any of my fellow racing mates back with us."
In his Instagram post, Price said: "Yesterday's stage was starting well, great pace and feeling good on the bike until the refuel.
"Paulo took off into the stage about five minutes before me and the worst case had happened.
"I come over a small crest and seen a rider down and it was Paulo.
"Worst fears kicked in cause I knew this one was serious. I called for help ASAP and helped get him on his side (plus more serious checks).
"Tried calling for more help and by this stage @stefansvitko (also a champion) had arrived and (was) helping where he could.
"The first helicopter arrive and @luc_alphand_skiator was starting to help and as the medical helicopter arrive they were already on CPR and the doctors got to our sides and work all they could.
"Helping holding drip bags, getting bags of medical equipment and guiding other riders around a bad scene.
"We all worked as long as we could but there was nothing we could do. I helped assist carrying him to the helicopter as it was the right thing to do. I was first at his side and wanted to be the last to leave.
"We will miss your smile and laughter in the bivouac #speedy
"My last 250km of special stage was tough, I'm dehydrated from tears.
"At the moment I'm not even worried about the result, I couldn't care.
"Many thoughts with family and friends on this day, we don't start the rally day 8 for bike #8 in respect to family and friends and the loss of a HERO.
"Thankyou to everyone for the messages of support worldwide, especially Portugal with all the kind things."