Paul Smart death verdict: Motorist admits guilt in accident that killed racing legend

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A driver has admitted causing the death by careless driving of former Imola 200 winner and Grand Prix racer Paul Smart.

Seventy-eight-year-old Smart was riding his motorcycle along the A21 near Flimwell, before being involved in a collision with David Gladwell. Smart died at the scene.

The incident took place on October 27, 2021, with Gladwell pleading guilty to the offence at his first hearing on Thursday, February 9 at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court.

Paul Smart racing for Ducati at Imola, 1972

The case has now been sent to Maidstone Crown Court for sentencing, with Gladwell given an interim driving ban until then. As it stands, no date has been set.

Following the accident in 2021, Paul’s family released a statement which read: “Paul was a hugely popular character in and out of the paddock, and much loved by his family, friends, and fans.

“He will forever be synonymous with Ducati, the Italian brand he propelled to international acclaim with victory in the 1972 Imola 200 race. Paul also shared a special affinity with the Brands Hatch circuit, having lived literally next door in West Kingsdown.

Paul Smart in pit lane at Imola, 1972

“So much more can and will be written in the days and weeks ahead about a life well lived that has been tragically curtailed.

“Paul is survived by wife Maggie, son Scott and daughter Paula who kindly request their privacy is respected at this difficult time.”

Elsewhere, Smart also raced in the 250cc, 350cc and 500cc GP categories, securing seven podiums. He finished second in the 250cc and 350cc races at the 1971 Swedish Grand Prix, whilst finishing second and third respectively in the 350cc class in West Germany and East Germany.