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French rider dies in Dakar Rally

Pascal Terry, 49, went missing Jan. 4

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jan. 07, 2009
French Dakar competitor Pascal Terry has been found dead after having been missing since the rally’s second stage Jan. 4.

Rally organizers released a statement saying Terry, 49, was found at 2:10 am Argentine time (4:10 am EST) on Jan. 7 in a remote area in Argentina between Santa Rosa and Puerto Madryn.  

“The motorcyclist was found in an area that is very inaccessible with very dense vegetation 15 meters from his bike,” organizers said in a statement. “He had taken off his helmet and had taken shelter with food and water next to him.”

Terry had informed race organizers that his Yamaha 450WRF had run out of fuel and he had obtained some fuel from another rider. Terry later sent out an alert and a search was launched. Organizers attempted to contact Terry on several more occasions but were unable to get a response.

Argentine police are conducting an investigation and a cause of death has yet to be determined.

Terry is the first competitor to have died during the Dakar Rally in South America. More than 30 people have died in the rally’s 31-year history which had been held in Northern Africa before moving to South America for 2009. Eric Aubijoux of France and Elmer Symons of South African died in the previous rally in 2007. The 2008 Dakar Rally was called off due to concerns about terrorist organizations.

A native of the Manche region of northern France, Terry was a longtime fan of the Dakar Rally. The 2009 rally was Terry’s first, racing for Team MD Rallye Sport. His profile on the Dakar Rally’s official website says Terry admired Thierry Sabine, the founder of the rally who died in a helicopter crash during the 1986 race, and that taking part in the first South American Dakar Rally was a nice homage.

“The destination was actually the detonator, a renewal,” says Terry in his profile. “It made me jump into a dream.”

Terry convinced his friend Pascal Gilbert, a veteran of the 2000 and 2004 rallies, to race in the 2009 Dakar Rally.

“I wasn’t necessarily going to do it again,” says Gilbert in his profile on the Dakar Rally website. “But we will help one another and do the race together, which will make it nicer. Additionally, he is very fit and mentally very strong.”

Terry and Gilbert joined Team MD Rallye Sport with the goal of finishing it together.

“I truly believe that it will be sensational,” Terry says in his profile. “The place seems fabulous. We will witness a great moment and I will do all I can to enjoy every stage of the race”.

 
 
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