Spanish motorbike rider Carles Falcón airlifted to hospital in a ‘serious condition’ after Dakar Rally crash

Spanish motorbike rider Carles Falcón was airlifted to hospital in a “serious condition” after crashing during the second stage of the Dakar Rally, which is being staged in Saudi Arabia, race organizers said in a statement on Monday.

“A fellow entrant who was behind him immediately alerted the organisation, which sent a medical helicopter to extract the injured rider,” the statement added.

“He was in serious condition and has been airlifted to Al Duwadimi Hospital. Additional information is expected in the coming hours.”

The incident occurred at kilometer 448 of the stage, the statement added.

Twin Trail Racing, the team Falcón drives for, said in a statement that the Spaniard was “unconscious and without a pulse” after the crash, but was resuscitated by doctors.

The team added that Falcón suffered a fracture to his C2 vertebrae “that requires urgent surgery.”

“Over the next few days Carles will be kept sedated to control the development of the edema he has suffered in his head,” the statement added.

“From the team and family we appreciate all the messages of support received.”

Born in the Catalonian city of Tarragona in 1978, Falcón has “always been surrounded by motorbikes,” Twin Trail said of its driver, who was a Dakar Rally finisher in 2022.

The Dakar Rally is one of the world’s longest and most demanding endurance races and this year covers 7,891 kilometers from AlUla to Yanbu in Saudi Arabia.

The Dakar Rally was held in Europe and Africa from 1979 to 2007, but was moved to South America and then the Middle East in 2020 after the 2008 event was canceled following security concerns.

There are traditionally five major vehicle categories in the Dakar Rally: cars, motorbikes, trucks, UTVs and quad bikes.

Carlos Sainz Sr., father of Formula One Driver Carlos Sainz Jr., climbed to the top of the overall car standings after finishing eighth on stage two.

The three-time Dakar winner and co-driver Lucas Cruz have a lead of one minute and 51 seconds over second place.

Correction: This article has been updated with a correct photo of Carles Falcón, who was previously misidentified.

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