Polish motorbike rider Michal Hernik’s death on the Dakar Rally was due to hyperthermia and dehydration, early tests revealed on Thursday.

The 39-year-old’s body was found on Tuesday 300 metres (yards) from the desert track without his helmet and with no apparent injury and no damage to his motorbike that would indicate an accident.

Organisers sent a helicopter to look for Hernik after he failed to arrive at the finish line of Tuesday’s stage between the Argentinian towns of Villa Carlos Paz and Chilecito. His satellite tracker had stopped sending signals.

The Pole was taking part in the Dakar Rally for the first time.

His was the fifth death since the rally was moved to South America in 2009 over security concerns in the Sahara region and the 24th since the race was created in 1979. – Agence France-Presse

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