Classic Racer

Editor’s welcome


It's sad to have to celebrate some late-great names in Classic Racer this issue, but our aim is always to be a place where ‘legends live on...'

If the word legend would fit anyone, it would be Paul Smart. I'm sure I speak for all of us in the classic racing community when I say that we were all shocked to hear of Paul's passing in a road accident on his motorcycle recently.

Paul was more than just the winner of the 1972 Imola 200, he was one of the few that straddled two eras of classic racing.

His early career was spent on British fourstroke­s, on treaded tyres, then he was able to successful­ly move into a new era, one of Japanese two-strokes, ever-spiralling power outputs and slick tyres... Such a massive change even in one variable would be hard enough to handle, but handle it successful­ly, Smartie did.

When putting together this issue of Classic Racer, speaking to the author of our two-part feature on Paul's career, Bruce Cox, it was clear that Paul Smart was not only respected for his riding prowess and achievemen­ts, but more importantl­y his nononsense approach to life and nice-guy image.

Another legend who needs no introducti­on is Joey Dunlop.

Joey – often known as the ‘King of the Roads' was also a very handy short-circuit racer. His biographer, Stuart Barker, recalls his rivals' feelings on Joey's prowess on the short-circuits: on his day, he could beat anybody...

Another legend that could beat anyone on his day is the now-retired Valentino Rossi: Alan Cathcart rides his 2001 Honda NSR500 title winner this issue: but don't worry, Sir Alan is riding some real golden oldies next issue!

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