Paul Smart has died

Paul Smart, pictured at Donington Park in 1971, has died
Paul Smart, pictured at Donington Park in 1971, has died

Former Grand Prix and Isle of Man TT racer Paul Smart has died at the age of 78 following a road traffic collision on Wednesday October 27.

Paul was riding his motorcycle when the accident occurred, and the police and coroner are now investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident. Whilst enjoying success in GP and at the TT, Paul is most known for winning the 1972 Imola 200 for Ducati.

A statement from the family reads:

“Paul was a hugely popular character in and out of the paddock, and much loved by his family, friends and fans around the world. He was 78.

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 for many years.

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.”

At Imola, Paul took his all-new Ducati Gran Tourismo 750 machine to victory at the inaugural event, which was Europe’s answer to America’s Daytona200. The 750 was the first Ducati to use a desmodromic engine, had the frame, suspension, engine, and brakes of a production model touring bike.

Smart was able to beat Giacomo Agostini and his MV Agusta 500cc race bike. Ducati honoured his victory with the Paul Smart 1000 LE special edition bike in 2006. The bike was styled to look just like his 1972 race winning machine.

Paul also raced in the 250cc, 350cc and 500cc GP categories, securing a total of 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.

In 1970 Paul finished third at the Isle of Man GP on a 350cc Padgett Yamaha, and in the same year finished second at the Finnish Grand Prix and Ulster Grand Prix on a 250cc machine.

Paul finished second in the 1967 Production 750cc TT race on a Norton, before repeating that achievement in 1969. He finished third in the 1970 Junior TT on a Yamaha.

Our thoughts are with Paul Smart’s family and friends at this difficult time.