Hernik has been found dead, but the circumstances surrounding his death have yet to be determined.
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Dakar Rally organisers have revealed that Polish motorcycle rider Michal Hernik died on Stage Three on Tuesday.
The 39-year-old was found dead at the 206 kilometre mark of the 220 kilometre 220 kilometre third stage between San Juan and Chilecito in Argentina.
“The circumstances surrounding his death have yet to be determined, as the competitor did not show any external signs of an accident,” a statement on Dakar.com read.
“When the race management detected the loss of his Irritrack signal and was informed that he had not completed the special stage at 15:16 [18:16 GMT], it decided to start a search for the rider at 15:23 [18:23 GMT].
“An ambulance helicopter found the rider 300 meters off the route at 16:03 [19:09]. Unfortunately, the on-board doctor could only confirm the rider’s death.”
Tragically, it was Hernik’s debut in the Dakar Rally.