Sunday, June 23, 2024

Bram van der Wouden dies from heat stroke at Morocco Desert Challenge

The Morocco Desert Challenge was marred by tragedy for the second day in a row as bike racer Bram van der Wouden passed away during Thursday’s stage after suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion. He was 48 years old.

Van der Wouden, competing solo as a Malle Moto rider, was spotted by other competitors lying on the ground next to his Sherco bike. Medical assistance arrived to treat him, but he had already succumbed to his ailments. He was coming off a stage finish of twenty-seventh.

He grew up in motocross before trying out amateur rally raids in RBI Sport’s Fenix Rally and Balkan Offroad Rallye. In 2020, he competed in the Africa Eco Race with plans of later running the Dakar Rally for the first time but pushed the effort to 2022 while undergoing hand surgery. Competing in the Malle Moto (formally Original by Motul) category, he broke a rib and bruised three more in a Stage #2 crash before retiring with mechanical failure after seven legs.

The Dutchman had hoped to return to Dakar in 2023 but called it off upon noticing the smaller field of bikes as the field was capped at 100. He intended to run events like the MDC to prepare for Dakar 2024.

He is survived by two daughters.

Van der Wouden’s passing comes a day after Laurent Lichtleuchter, a three-time Dakar-winning co-driver, died in a Stage #4 accident. Lichtleuchter’s driver Patrice Garrouste was hospitalised for burns while their Xtremeplus team withdrew their other entry of Aldo and Dario De Lorenzo for Thursday.

Bram van der Wouden: 24 October 1974 – 27 April 2023

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