According to www.cycleworld.com, Paul Smart, winner of the first Imola 200 in 1972, passed away on Oct. 27, 2021 from a motorcycle accident on the road while doing his daily riding in England.
As a teen, Smart attended the Charles Mortimer Race School at Brands Hatch in Kent, England, where his skills first became apparent. In 1966, Mortimer mentored him and let Smart enter events on the school’s spare bikes. In 1967, Smart came in second at the 750 Production class aboard a Paul Dunstall Norton Atlas; he repeated the feat in 1969.
That year, Smart became a star on the British short circuits, riding a wide range of bikes, from Nortons to two-stroke Yamaha twins to Triumph Trident triples.
In 1972, Ducati hired Smart to race its new 750 SS Desmo at the Imola 200. The Desmo was completely unlike any of the British 750 cc bikes he had raced up to that point, and although he was dissatisfied with the bike’s heavy front-end geometry, he adapted his riding style by visibly leaning his chest further into the corners.
For that race, Smart was teamed with and pitted against Ducati mainstay Bruno, Spaggiari, a 40-year-old with tremendous experience on Ducati racebikes.
When the pair took off during the race, only Giacomo Agostini tried to keep up with them. However, Spaggiari and Smart raced neck-and-neck for the full distance. By refueling time, however, Smart had pulled ahead by a handful of yards. He pitted first, taking a full load of fuel, but Spaggiari, hoping to make up the lost distance, took on less gas. Spaggiari gambled and lost, however, finishing second after Smart with a dead engine.
Smart then raced again for Ducati on its 500 GP twin but was then hired by Hansen Kawasaki to race in the U.S. In 1978, he retired from racing and moved into the business side of motorcycling, where he achieved some success.
Smart married Barry Sheene’s sister Maggie, and they had two children: Scott, also a racer, and Paula.
In 2006, Ducati honored Smart by creating the Paul Smart 1000 Replica LE, based on the Ducati 1000 Sport S. This tribute bike has become one of the all-time more desirable Ducatis.
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