Dakar: Polish rider Michal Hernik, 39, found dead along third stage

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Dakar Rally motorcycle competitor Michal Hernik, 39, of Poland was found dead today at kilometer No. 206 along Stage 3 between San Juan and Chilecito, Argentina.

In a statement, race organizers say the circumstances of his death have yet to be determined and that Hernik did not show “any external signs of an accident.”

The statement continues: “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, it decided to start a search for the rider at 15:23. An ambulance helicopter found the rider 300 meters off the route at 16:03. Unfortunately, the on-board doctor could only confirm the rider’s death.”

Hernik was competing in his very first Dakar and was running 84th in the motorcycle category. Prior to this year’s event, he had completed the 2013 Morocco Rally and 2014 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

His official profile on the Dakar site details a short story of friendship between himself and fellow Polish riders Pawel Stasiaczek and Norbert Madetko – all of whom had a common dream to compete in the world’s toughest rally.

Ultimately, Hernik and Stasiaczek were able to reach the start this year in Buenos Aires as teammates. Both of their profiles carry the following: “Getting ready [for] Dakar took us two years…In terms of amateurs, our goal will be to complete the rally, whatever the position. That would be our success.

“Our most powerful asset is our friendship and mutual support in difficult moments after heavy days. This is due to our common dream and the adventure we lived to prepare for the Dakar…”

Our thoughts and prayers are with Hernik’s family, friends, and peers at this time.

Last year’s event was marred by the Stage 6 death of Belgian rider Eric Palante. In a separate incident on that same stage, two other people were killed when the car they were traveling in fell into a ravine. Two others in that car survived the crash.

IndyCar entry lists for Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

IndyCar entry lists Indianapolis
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There are 25 drivers on the NTT IndyCar Series entry lists at Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with a few new yet familiar faces for the Oct. 2-3 race weekend.

Four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais will make his season debut in the No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet (shifting Dalton Kellett to the No. 41) with AJ Foyt Racing, which he is joining full time next season. James Hinchcliffe, who had run three races with Andretti Autosport, will return in place of Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda. Helio Castroneves will drive Arrow McLaren SP’s No. 7 Dallara-Chevy for Oliver Askew, who is out with concussion-like symptoms.

Sage Karam, who has two IndyCar starts this year at IMS (the road course on July 4 and the Indy 500 on Aug. 23), also will return to the series in Dreyer & Reinbold’s No. 24 Dallara-Chevrolet.

HARVEST GP ENTRY LISTS: Friday l Saturday

Friday and Saturday of the Harvest GP presented by GMR will mark the second and third races this season on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. While the July 4 race on the circuit was 80 laps, Friday’s distance is 85 laps, and Saturday will be a 75-lap event.

Championship leader Scott Dixon led 26 of 80 laps to win the July 4 race at the IMS road course. With three races remaining in the series, the five-time series champion enters with a 72-point lead on Josef Newgarden.

Click here to see who’s on the IndyCar entry lists in Race 1 and in Race 2 for the Harvest GP presented by GMR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.


START TIMES AND TV INFO FOR INDYCAR AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE (all times ET):

Thursday

IndyCar NTT Series practice: 2:25-3:40 p.m., NBC Sports Gold

IndyCar qualifying, Race 1: 6:20 p.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

Friday

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 1: 3:30 p.m. (green flag, 5 p.m.), USA Network, NBC Sports Gold

Saturday

—IndyCar qualifying: 10:20 a.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 2: 2:30 p.m (green flag, 2:31 p.m.)., NBC, NBC Sports Gold