Former World Championship racer Paul Smart died today from injuries sustained in a traffic accident while riding his motorcycle in England. He was 78.
Smart started racing in the late 1960s and later became a professional rider. In 1970, he rode a Yamaha to two podium finishes and 13th in the FIM 250cc Grand Prix World Championship. And in 1971, he rode a Yamaha to 11th in the FIM 250cc Grand Prix World Championship with a career-best race finish of second in the Swedish Grand Prix.
However, Smart is best known for riding a Ducati GT750 to victory in the Imola 200 in 1972.
Ducati later created a Paul Smart 1000 LE and a very limited Scrambler Paul Smart Edition to commemorate Smart’s win at Imola.
Smart is survived by his wife of 50 years Maggie (the late Barry Sheene’s sister), daughter Paula Mainwaring Smart, and son Scott Smart, the current FIM Superbike Technical Director.
The following statement has been attributed to coming from the Smart family:
It is with huge sadness we have to report that Paul lost his life in a road traffic collision earlier this afternoon while riding his motorcycle in East Sussex and Kent.
The police and coroner are investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident.
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.