'Worst fears': The moment Aussie rider Toby Price discovered Dakar Rally tragedy

Australian dirt bike rider Toby Price has opened up about the moment he came across the accident which claimed the life of fellow Dakar Rally competitor Paulo Goncalves.

The 40-year-old Portugese rider died after crashing during the seventh stage of the race, 276km into the special stage from the capital Riyadh to Wadi Al Dawasir.

Price, who began his run through the stage roughly five minutes after Gonclaves, said he came across a small crest in the desert to find his rival.

“Paulo took off into the stage about 5 minutes before me and the worst case had happened,” Price posted on Facebook.

“I come over a small crest and seen a rider down and was Paulo.

“Worst fears kicked in cause I knew this one was serious. I called for help ASAP and helped get him on his side (plus more serious checks).”

Australian rider Toby Price has described the scene he encountered after fellow Dakar Rally competitor Paulo Goncalves, who died after an accident on stage seven. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Price went on to describe how he and fellow competitor, Slovak racer Stefan Svitko, provided first aid to Gonclaves after calling for help from a medical helicopter.

"The organisers received an alert at 10:08 and dispatched a medical helicopter that reached the biker at 10:16 and found him unconscious after going into cardiac arrest," organisers said in a statement.

"Following resuscitation efforts in situ, the competitor was taken by helicopter to Layla Hospital, where he was sadly pronounced dead.”

The Australian was left to complete the 250 remaining kilometres of the stage after Gonclaves had been airlifted to hospital.

“We all worked as long as we could but there was nothing we could do,” he said.

“I helped assist carrying him to the helicopter as it was the right thing to do. I was first at his side and wanted to be the last to leave.

“My last 250km of special stage was tough, I’m dehydrated from tears.

“At the moment I’m not even worried about the result, I couldn’t care.

“Many thoughts with family and friends on this day.”

Dakar Rally rocked by tragic death

The organisers have decided after consultation with the races' motorcycle fraternity to cancel stage eight of the race on Monday "in order to give the riders time to mourn their friend."

Goncalves was the first competitor to die in the gruelling endurance event since Polish motorcycle rider Michal Hernik in Argentina in 2015.

A runner-up in 2015 and four-time top 10 finisher of the Dakar, Goncalves suffered mechanical problems on Friday and had change his bike's engine to stay in the race, dropping to 46th overall after the sixth stage.

"The target now is to do my best, because the result at the end...there is no way to get a good result. Instead I'll try to do good stages every day possible and that's what I'm looking for," Goncalves said then.

The experienced rider had competed in the Dakar on three continents, from its origins in Africa to South America and this year's debut in the Middle East.