Paulo Gonçalves, the Portuguese motorcycle rider who died yesterday following a crash at the Dakar rally in Saudi Arabia, lived for several years in Coimbra where he gained prominence in the sport, representing the city team Motogomes.
The 40-year-old arrived in Coimbra at 16 and grew up here at 24. “He was a boy who came from a village in the municipality of Esposende, but became a man in the competition. It was in Coimbra that he started to do serious competition ”, tells DIÁRIO AS BEIRAS, Paulo Gomes, friend of the driver and responsible for the team.
“He was a complete pilot, but above all he was a huge human being,” he says in a choked voice. “What was important to him was the ethical ideals, if he saw someone in difficulty always helped, never overlapped the results to the rest,” says the friend at home from whom the pilot came to live.
“He won 14 national titles with us, he was European Motocross runner-up, European Enduro champion. He left when he had his first major professional contract internationally and went on to represent GasGas, ”says Paulo Gomes, whom the unsuccessful pilot used to call his boss.
“Never forgot Coimbra, nor friends. He was a very humble person. His ideals were family, friends and ethical principles, only then came the competition, ”he recalls.
During his time in Coimbra, Paulo Gonçalves participated in numerous races and was even awarded with an award from DIARY AS BEIRAS. The news of his death ran the world and yesterday the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and the Prime Minister, António Costa, among others, regretted the loss, remembering the episode of altruism that led in the 2016 Dakar when he stopped to Help a fellow.
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