They came across the Portuguese rider at the 276km mark of the epic 546 stage.
Paulo was unconscious and Toby and some other riders stayed with him until the helicopters arrived. Sadly, Paulo passed away in hospital.
He had raced in every rally since his debut in 2006 with four top 10 finishes and a second place in 2015.
Stage eight of the rally today has been cancelled in Paulo’s honour.
Toby still in contention
Toby finished 51st on the longest stage of the Saudi Arabian event, but the time he spent helping Paulo was deducted and his overall position adjusted.
On the adjusted timings, Toby is fourth overall and only 28 minutes behind the leaders.
The seventh stage was won by Spaniard Joan Barreda Bort, ahead of Toby’s KTM teammates Matthias Walkner (Austria) and Luciano Benavides (Argentina) with Bort’s Honda teammate, Ricky Brabec, in fourth (USA).
Ricky now leads outright and looks the most consistent rider with two stage wins.
If victorious, he would be the first American to win the Dakar and it would halt the impressive 18 consecutive wins for KTM.
Top 5 rankings
|1||9||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2020||28H 25′ 01”|
|2||5||ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING||28H 49′ 49”|
|3||17||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2020||28H 52′ 02”|
|4||1||RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM||28H 53′ 45”|
|5||12||MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2020||28H 54′ 30”|
Queensland veteran competitor Rodney Faggotter (Yamaha) has now moved to be right with Toby.
He finished the epic stage in 17th, moving up two outright spots to be 12th.
Fellow Aussie Ben Young (KTM) finished strongly in 54th place in his second Dakar, moving up nine positions to 57th overall.
Matthew Tisdall (KTM) had his best finish yet with 99th place and is now 102nd outright.
Toby aids firefighters
Like many Aussie sports stars and celebrities, Toby is raising money for the bushfire appeal.
He is auctioning his starting jersey and pants for firefighters
Toby is also doing his bit for the current critical bushfire situation by auctioning his starting jersey and pants with proceeds going to the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Current highest bid is still $13,001.
Auction closes on 18 January at 5pm (AEST).
If you can’t bid, please donate on this link.
Jack Miller’s MotoGP helmet
Jack will sign and send the helmet to the winning bidder