Deceased motorcycle racer exhausted in 55 degrees: ‘It was impossible for him to reach the emergency button’ Temperatures have been extremely high in the country for days.

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Bram van der Wouden in action during the fourth stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally
NOS Sports

It must have been 55 degrees when the Dutch motorcycle racer Bram van der Wouden got off his motorcycle in the Moroccan Sahara. Yesterday Van der Wouden was found dead by other participants during the Morocco Desert Challenge.

After the Dakar Rally, the Morocco Desert Challenge is the largest off-road rally in which motorcycles, cars, quads and trucks participate. Van der Wouden was riding a motorcycle and, according to reports, died of the heat.

“It has been extremely hot in Morocco in recent days,” says Robin Verheggen from the Netherlands in the NOS Radio 1 Journaal. He is part of the team of Anja van Loon, who is doing the race with a truck.

“Today, too, the temperature will rise above 50 degrees. It is really very hot,” says Verheggen. “The heat is causing major problems there. A number of racing drivers have even decided to leave the rally because it is too dangerous.”

Exhausted and dehydrated

The 48-year-old Van de Wouden just left yesterday. He saw this rally as preparation for the Dakar Rally, in which he made his debut last year. “Earlier in the day he had fallen and was patched up again by two colleagues,” says Verheggen.

“A few kilometers before the finish he deviated from the route and probably completely exhausted stopped to rest. He then sat down next to his motorcycle and it was impossible for him to press the emergency button. In rallies like this, every vehicle has a button to request assistance.”

It then continues to speculate for Verheggen as to what exactly happened. Van der Wouden may have been so dehydrated and exhausted that he could no longer press the button and died. According to the organization, the medical intervention team was quickly on site, but all help came too late. “Maybe he was only there for a minute,” Verheggen thinks aloud.

‘Belongs’

The rally will continue today as usual, only the motorcycle drivers will not drive due to the difficult conditions. According to Verheggen, death is also part of the sport. “Everyone who takes part, especially motorcycle racers, has kind of accepted that it can be their last race. It sounds very intense, but something like that is part of it.”

Nevertheless, the organization does take measures and there are a lot of protocols. For example, before the start, the participants receive various instructions about what to do in an emergency situation.

“In addition, you are, for example, obliged to have water with you, otherwise you are not allowed to start. There are also various mandatory stops on the route. So they do everything they can.”

Van der Wouden is already the second participant to die during this edition of the Morocco Desert Challenge. On Tuesday, a French co-pilot died after a collision with another vehicle.

  • Motorcycle racer Bram van der Wouden passed away at Morocco Desert Challenge
  • Interior

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