The Dakar Rally is mourning the loss of French rider Pierre Cherpin, who tragically passed away after a horror crash during the seventh stage of the endurance race in Saudi Arabia.

The 52-year-old, who was taking part in his fourth Dakar race, was found unconscious by doctors who immediately took him to hospital where he was placed into a medically induced coma.

The rider had sustained a severe head injury after falling from his bike and was being transferred to a hospital in Lille at the time of his death.

“During his transfer by medical plane from Jeddah to France… Pierre Cherpin died from the injuries caused by his fall during the seventh stage from Ha’il to Sakaka on January 10,” a statement from the organizers said.

“Doctors found him unconscious when they reached him by helicopter.

“Taken to Sakaka’s hospital, a medical report revealed a severe head trauma with loss of consciousness.

“[He was] urgently operated on in the neurosurgery department and, kept in an induced coma, his condition remained stable over the past few days.

“He was airlifted from Sakaka to Jeddah’s hospital from where he was going to be transferred to Lille’s hospital.”

Cherpin had described himself as an amateur and said that he enjoyed the adventure of the Dakar race without ever thinking about an overall victory.

“I am an amateur,” he explained. “I don’t want to win but to discover landscapes that I would never have had the opportunity to see otherwise.

“Everything is exciting: riding the bike, living out your passion, getting to know yourself.” (RT)