Legendary Ducati rider Paul Smart dies in motorcycle crash
Legendary Ducati rider Paul Smart died in a motorcycle accident earlier today at the age of 78.
Smart was considered one of the greatest British riders of all time and was best known for his victory at the Imola 200 for Ducati in 1972.
In addition to success with Ducati, the Englishman’s impressive career also saw him perform for Suzuki, Triumph, Kawasaki and Yamaha in both Europe and America, before retiring in 1978.
The Briton enjoyed a successful stint on the bank throughout the 1970s and competed in the world championship in the 250, 350, 500 categories, where he won seven podiums.
Miller Family Archives)
Bennett’s British Superbike Championship confirmed the legendary rider’s death tonight via their official social media pages.
The Championship tweeted: âWe are saddened by the news that Paul Smart lost his life in a traffic accident today while riding his motorcycle.
âPaul was an extremely popular character in and out of the paddock. He was much loved by his family, friends and fans all over the world and our thoughts are with them.
Series and Championship Race Director Stuart Higgs also paid his own tribute on his personal Twitter account.
He commented: âThe saddest of days my hero dear friend Paul Smart lost his life today. My heart goes out to Maggie, Paula & Scott
Tributes to the great Ducati started pouring in, with Honda UK star Glenn Irwin paying homage to one of his sport’s greats via Twitter.
Irwin said: âExtremely saddened to read that Paul Smart died in a motorcycle accident.
âI got to know Paul and Maggie during my PBM Ducati years and he was a lovely person. Thoughts with Maggie, Scott and Paula.
Smart’s family also released a statement via Cycling sport news who said: âIt is with immense sadness that we have to announce that Paul lost his life in a traffic accident earlier this afternoon while riding his motorbike in East Sussex and Kent.
âThe police and the coroner are investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident.
âPaul was an extremely popular character in and out of the paddock, and much loved by his family, friends and fans around the world. He was 78 years old.
âHe will forever be synonymous with Ducati, the Italian brand he propelled to international fame by winning the Imola 200 race in 1972. Paul also shared a special affinity with the Brands Hatch circuit, having literally lived next door to West Kingsdown for many years.
The family then asked for privacy respectively during their difficult time.
They added, âMuch more can and will be written in the days and weeks to come about a life well lived that has been tragically curtailed.
“Paul is survived by his wife Maggie, son Scott and daughter Paula who kindly ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.”