There's just no getting around the fact that, despite technological advances and a host of regulations aimed at improving safety, organized racing is a dangerous occupation. We saw it last year with the deaths of Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli – pushing the limits on either two or four wheels is sometimes life threatening.

The Dakar Rally is one of the most dangerous races of all, with more than 58 deaths – 25 competitors plus at least 33 spectators, though official spectator fatalities aren't kept – recorded in 31 races since 1979. Though the 2012 edition has only just begun, it has already suffered its first fatality.

Argentinian rider Jorge Martínez Boero, age 38, died on the very first stage of the 15-day race of cardiac arrest while being transported to a hospital. Boero suffered head and chest injuries after crashing his motorcycle. This was his second Dakar Rally.

A demonstration of how quickly things can go bad can be seen in the video after the break. Quin Cody, a racer for the Factory Honda team, crashed out of the event on January 3, suffering a concussion and broken collarbone. Thankfully, some other competitors stopped for assistance, and Cody ought to make a full recovery.

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