Paul Smart (motorcyclist)

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Paul Smart (23 April 1943 – 27 October 2021) was an English short circuit motorcycle road racer who later entered Grands Prix.

Paul Smart
Ducati 750 Paul Smart DM.JPG
The Ducati 750 Imola Desmo on which Paul Smart won the Imola 200 in 1972. Smart himself is visible in the poster behind
NationalityBritish
Motorcycle racing career statistics
Grand Prix motorcycle racing
Active years19701972
First race1970 250cc Finnish Grand Prix
Last race1972 500cc Nations Grand Prix
Starts Wins Podiums Poles F. laps Points
10 0 7 0 0 42

Racing backgroundEdit

Smart started racing in the latter half of the 1960s after attending the Charles Mortimer Race School at Brands Hatch race circuit, Kent in 1965,[1] initially buying a Bultaco which proved expensive and unreliable, and later riding a variety of machinery in different classes on UK short-circuits.[2]

For 1966 Smart shared a 125 cc Honda with John Button whilst saving money to buy a 250 cc Cotton which he rode successfully at club level, eventually winning the MCN 250 cc Championship. After the Cotton engine failed, he was provided with a Greeves by Chas Mortimer.[2]

He won the 250 cc class at the Stars of Tomorrow meeting at Mallory Park, England on 3 July 1966 riding a Greeves.[3]

He first entered the Isle of Man Manx Grand Prix in September 1966 riding a Greeves Silverstone[4] as used by the race school.[5]

During 1967, Smart was sponsored by Charles Mortimer Senior, proprietor of the Charles Mortimer Race School based at Brands Hatch race circuit, Kent, riding from a stable consisting of RDS Greeves 250s, a Bultaco 125 and an Aermacchi 350 together with Chas Mortimer, Charles' son. Both were also employed as road race instructors at the race school.[6]

At the Isle of Man TT Races on a 745 cc Dunstall Dominator for Paul Dunstall, Smart scored second place in 1967,[7] and again second on a Norton Commando in 1969,[8] both in the Production 750 cc class.

Smart moved on to regular successes during 1969 when he was sponsored by Joe Francis Motors, a London motorcycle dealer selling AMC,[9] which provided a 750 cc Norton, a Seeley, a 250 cc Yamaha, and winning the Hutchinson 100 Production machine event on a Triumph 750 cc.[10] For 1970 there was a works Triumph Trident 750 cc and his own 350 cc Yamaha.[2]

In the Transatlantic Trophy Anglo-American Match Races in 1971 Smart rode a Triumph triple and was joint top scorer with Ray Pickrell in the winning UK team. In 1973 and 1974 he captained the UK winning team riding a works Suzuki 750 two-stroke triple.

 
1977 Ducati 900SS

Smart also raced in Grands Prix in the early 1970s, with second-place results in 1971 in both the 350cc and 250cc categories, riding Yamaha machinery.[11]

Smart is remembered for winning the Imola 200 on 23 April 1972, at age 29, riding Ducati's new 750 racer, based on the GT750 roadster. Ducati paid his airfare and £500 wages.[12][13] His winnings were an additional £6,000.[14] A 750SS road bike and production race version followed, turning into the 1975 900SS which continued until the early 1980s.[15]

In the early 1970s Smart was riding in North America for the Hansen Kawasaki team on air-cooled H2R two-stroke triples.[12][15] He won what was stated to be the richest prize in motorcycling history – over £12,000 – in a 1972 race at Ontario Motor Speedway, California on a Seeley-framed Kawasaki H2R.[14]

Personal lifeEdit

After making history for Ducati and winning further races, in 1978 Smart finally hung up his leathers and retired from competition to concentrate on his motorcycle business,[16][12] which he expanded into three separate shops at one stage. He sold the shops and the family caravan park business in Kent, later qualifying as an offshore sailing skipper, formalising his long-time hobby.[15]

 
Ducati Paul Smart Replica

In 2006, Ducati produced a 1000cc limited-edition PaulSmart 1000 LE, in recognition of the 1972 Imola win, designating it Paul Smart 1000LE. It had the advanced-technology of the time, but resembled the 1972 race bike.[15]

Smart married Barry Sheene’s sister Maggie[12] in 1971.[17] Son Scott is a former Grand Prix racer who won races in the British Superbike Championship then turned to Superstock, and is technical director of World Superbike Championship for the FIM.[18]

Smart died in a road traffic collision in the afternoon of 27 October 2021, aged 78, while riding his motorcycle in East Sussex and Kent.[19][20]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Motor Cycle 9 March 1967. Racing Line by David Dixon. Accessed 20 June 2013
  2. ^ a b c Motorcycle Mechanics (magazine), October 1970, p.40/41. Interview with Paul Smart by John Robinson. Accessed 9 March 2014
  3. ^ Motor Cycle 7 July 1966. Road racing reports. Accessed 23 July 2013
  4. ^ Motor Cycle 15 September 1966. Manx Grand Prix Practicing. Accessed 3 July 2013
  5. ^ Motor Cycle 8 September 1966. Shell Advertisement - Shell backs the up and comers. Accessed 3 July 2013
  6. ^ Motor Cycle, 3 August 1967. p.1072/75. 'School for road racers'. "The instructors are now Charles II and Paul Smart, both of whom, rather confusingly, are also under Charles Mortimer I's sponsorship as riders in their own right." Accessed 9 August 2013
  7. ^ [1] Official TT race results 1967. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  8. ^ [2] Official TT race results 1969. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  9. ^ Motorcycle Mechanics (magazine), October 1970, p.63. Joe Francis Motors Ltd advert "We are 100% AMC" Accessed 9 March 2014
  10. ^ Motorcycle Mechanics (magazine), October 1970, p.58. Joe Francis Motors advert Brands Hatch 9 Aug Hutchinson 100 Races "Congratulations Paul Smart, 1st Production machine race 750 cc Triumph". Accessed 9 March 2014
  11. ^ "MotoGP™ Riders". www.motogp.com.
  12. ^ a b c d motorbiketimes.com Retrieved 2013-06-21
  13. ^ Motorcyclist, May 2007, Pg 132, "The Holy Trinity", Paul Smart compares the original Imola 750 racer, '75 750 Super Sport, and new PS1000 LE SportClassic.
  14. ^ a b £12,000 win for Smart. Motorcycle News, 4 October, 1972, p.1 (cover). Retrieved 5 January 2021
  15. ^ a b c d Race of the Century Ashonbikes.com Website of the late Kevin Ash. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2021
  16. ^ Bike February 1976, p.11, advert Paul Smart Motorcycles Ltd., 100% Honda Specialists, 42/46 Lower Stone Street, Maidstone, Kent. Accessed and added 17 June 2014
  17. ^ [3] Genes Reunited. Free online marriage records. Retrieved 22 June 2013
  18. ^ EXCLUSIVE: Scott Smart (WorldSBK technical director) Interview Part 1 visordown, 31 January 2019. Retrieved 30 October 2021
  19. ^ Miller, David (27 October 2021). "Paul Smart has died". Bikesport News.
  20. ^ Sports, Dorna. "Paul Smart passes away". www.motogp.com.