Ducati Racer Paul Smart Dies
The man who gave Ducati its first major win killed in motorcycle accidentby Harry Fisher, on LISTEN 02:05
Paul Smart, famous for winning the Imola 200 for Ducati - the company’s first major win for its new v-twin engine - has died after a road crash.
Ducati Racer Paul Smart Has Died
It is unfortunate that, only a few days after writing about the victory at Imola in 1972 of Paul Smart aboard the Ducati 750 SS, the company’s first major victory for the V-twin engine and the one that really put the manufacturer on the map, we have to report the death of Paul Smart, the man who raced that bike to victory.
Smart was out riding his motorcycle, as he did every day despite being 78, when he was involved in a road accident.
Smart started racing at an early age and, by 1967, he had finished second in the 750cc Production class TT in the Isle of Man, riding a Dunstall Norton Atlas, a feat he repeated in 1969.
He became a fixture on the British racing scene before being approached by Ducati to ride the new v-twin engined 750 Super Sport in the Imola 200 mile race. At first he declined but then agreed. He was immediately popular with the Italian mechanics and mastered the riding technique needed to get the best out of the machine. The race was a fantastic dice with his team mate Bruno Spaggiari: they raced neck and neck for the whole race until Spaggiari, having gambled on taking on less fuel in order to stay in touch, ran dry with only a couple of laps to go. He still finished second but it was Smart who was the hero of the day - then and for evermore - in the hearts of Ducati.
He continued racing up to 1978 and then went into business. He married Barry Sheene’s sister Maggie and they had two children, Scott and Paula.
In 2006, Ducati released the Paul Smart 1000 Replica LE in honour of that first victory, based on the 100 Sport S.