Motorsports: Polish rider Michal Hernik dies during Dakar Rally in Argentina

A Jan 3, 2015 photo of Polish biker Michal Hernik during the symbolic start of the 2015 Dakar Rally in Buenos Aires. Hernik died on Tuesday while racing in the gruelling event. -- PHOTO: AFP
A Jan 3, 2015 photo of Polish biker Michal Hernik during the symbolic start of the 2015 Dakar Rally in Buenos Aires. Hernik died on Tuesday while racing in the gruelling event. -- PHOTO: AFP

BUENOS AIRES (REUTERS) - Polish motorcycle rider Michal Hernik died on Tuesday while racing in the Dakar Rally in Argentina, organisers said in a statement.

The 39-year-old's body was found at the 206km mark of the third stage between San Juan and Chilecito in the northwest of the country.

"The circumstances of his death have not yet been determined. He showed no sign of having been involved in an accident," the statement said.

Hernik raced for the KTM team. His body was found 300m from the course.

The 9,000km-long Dakar Rally runs through Argentina, Chile and Bolivia with the finish in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, on Jan 17.

Hernik is the fifth competitor to die during racing since the rally came to South America in 2009. It started out as a gruelling and sometimes fatal race from Paris across the Sahara to the Senegalese capital Dakar.