Bob Smith: the peoples' champion

Bob leads into Scarborough’s Esses on the Suzuki RG 500, ahead of Steve Henshaw, Mark Salle

Bob Smith was every part the gritty rider.

He was a self-employed diesel fitter throughout the week and he raced at the weekend.

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Unlike the likes of Hailwood, however, Smith’s apprenticeship wasn’t on ex-works machines on race circuits, it was on St Helens A roads, dodging the region’s constabulary on his old BSA Rocket.

His widow, Lynda Smith, said: “Bob was so fast on the roads nobody would dare challenge him. They knew they couldn’t beat him.

"I remember once we were riding around some zigzag bends when a bike overtook us. That didn’t go down well with Bob. He changed gear, chased after the bike and overtook him.

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"At the next set of lights the lad pulled up at the side of him, lifted his visor and said “f***** hell, if I’d known it was you I wouldn’t have overtaken.”

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