BOLD START, SAD END, FOR BIKER: Poland's Michal Hernik, 39, looked strong at the start of the 2015 Dakar in Buenos Aires on January 4. Two days later he was found dead near the road. Image: AP / Natacha Pisarenko
CHILECITO, Argentina - Polish biker rider Michal Hernik's death on the 2015 Dakar Rally was due to hypothermia and dehydration, early tests revealed on Thursday (Jan 8 2015).
The 39-year-old's body was found on Tuesday 300m from the desert track without his helmet or apparent injury and no damage to his motorcycle to indicate a fall.
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 because of security concerns in the Sahara region and the 24th since the race was created in 1979.