Legendary Ducati racer Paul Smart dies in motorbike crash

Ducati racing legend Paul Smart has died following a road traffic collision

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Legendary Ducati racer Paul Smart has died following a motorbike crash earlier today aged 78.

Smart was regarded as one of Britain’s greatest ever racers, and was best known for his victory at the Imola 200 for Ducati in 1972.

As well as success with Ducati, the Englishman’s impressive career also saw him perform for Suzuki, Triumph, Kawasaki and Yamaha across both in Europe and America, before retiring in 1978.

The Brit enjoyed a successful stint on the bank throughout the 1970’s, and competed in the world championship in the 250, 350, 500, classes where he went on to pick up seven podium finishes.

Paul Smart has died aged 78.


Miller Family Archive)

Bennett’s British Superbike Championship confirmed the legendary racer’s death this evening via their official social media pages.

The championship tweeted: “We are saddened by the news that Paul Smart lost his life in a road traffic collision today while riding his motorcycle.

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

Series and Race Director of the championship Stuart Higgs also paid his own tribute on his personal Twitter account.

He commented: “The very saddest of days that my hero dear friend Paul Smart has lost his life today. My heart goes out to Maggie, Paula & Scott

The tributes to the Ducati great have begun to flood in, with Honda UK star Glenn Irwin paying respects to one of the greats from his sport via Twitter.

Irwin said: “Extremely saddened to read that Paul Smart has passed away in a motorcycle accident.

“I got to know Paul & Maggie during my PBM Ducati days and he was a lovely person. Thoughts with Maggie, Scott and Paula.”

Smart’s family have also issued a statement via Bike Sport News which read: “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.”

The family went on to respectively request for privacy during their difficult time.

They added: “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.”

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