Roy Smart - Rest In Peace my friend...

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this post to inform you of the sad loss of Roy Smart on Saturday. Roy had been fighting cancer for the past few months but sadly lost the battle, quietly at home last weekend with his family.

Words have been lost in my thoughts since hearing the news so I will keep this brief for the moment and forward my sincerest condolences to his wife Val, daughter Jane and all relatives and friends who grieve his passing.

Having spoken with Jane, it would be greatly appreciated if people would allow the family time to come to terms with the sudden loss before making direct contact..
 

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Malcolm

Supporter
This is so sad. Knew Roy for 26 years and he was very inspirational to me both within and without the GTD40 Car Club. An amazing chap who had an extraordinary life story. I hope the video Andrew sent some of us can be linked to here as it sums up Roy so well and returned a smile to my face this evening with the good memories it brought back.
 
RIP Roy. Thoughts are with your family at this time; you inspired me to start my GT40 journey and was kind enough to offer me advice and your time to help me initially learn and get started.

You'll be sadly missed

Brett
 
This is very sad news. Roy was an enormous help to me in assisting in the creation of my GT40 - in fact he did most of the building as most of my spare time was taken up with building an aircraft at the time.

RIP old friend.

Chris
 
Hi again - now Roy's funeral has taken place, Andrew Fordyce and myself thought it right to post up a more fitting obituary, giving a small insight into Roy's life. I share it below for those who knew Roy, who had heard of Roy, or are just kindred spirits in the GT40 world.
The photos are just a few snaps that jumped out at us, Roy not usually being one that was easily captured on camera...

Obituary: Roy Smart

Paul Thompson and Andrew Fordyce were both active members in the GTD40 Car Club and spent many happy afternoons together editing the Club Magazine between racing. Sadly the best (and funniest) bits often ended up on the cutting room floor as unprintable and that was before we waited to receive the famous “Chairman’s comments” on our work. They remember an old friend.

Andrew: “If you were born between the World Wars you grew up in austerity Britain. Here ambitious men often found that the only way forward was along a path they created for themselves.

We lost one of those men when Roy Smart died at the end of January. He was the archetypal self made man, single minded and determined to the core. A man that hated being idle and loved nothing better than building and creating.

He built businesses and once he had succeeded at those he built his beloved GT40s and the engines that went in them. He never, ever built them following any design guidelines but his own. He made them light and he made them powerful and at a time of life when his peers were putting on their slippers and reminiscing his foot was always flat on the throttle.

He’d been a tank driver in the Army and was one of the most press on road drivers I ever rode with. He knew the width of his 3 series to the millimetre and certainly loved a “bit of oppo” down Kent’s leafy lanes.”

“That’s right” Paul continues “There was a journey he once made in his Cosworth, bringing a friend and his girl-friend back from a day out at a motor racing event. He told me that she was “chat chat chat” all the way and it was driving him mad as he could not concentrate on his driving. So, he speeded up and she quietened a bit, so he speeded up some more, and she became even quieter. He said the journey home ended up as one of the fastest, but quietest he’d ever made. Knowing just how fast that would have been, I can’t imagine how the friends felt as they got out of the car upon arrival!

I first met Roy some 26 years ago, whilst on a GTD40 car club trip to the Nurburgring when I shared a drive with Malcolm MacAdam. Roy being Roy, he did the full trip on his own. He was a maverick when it came to getting things done, nothing would deter him, such was his drive.

Both Malc and I remember that trip well. We crested one particular rise at speed, only to be confronted by Roy, mid-track, facing us in his 40, also still at speed but recovering from what turned out to be a full 720 degree spin! I recall his startled passenger looking somewhat white from that experience.

From this initial meeting, Roy tasked me with installing fuel injection on his GT40 and a long lasting friendship was forged. He had an amazing ability to engineer solutions to most mechanical problems and was always innovative, pushing boundaries of what can be done and how it could be achieved.

His engine builds were legendary, as anyone who has driven a ‘Smart’ powered 40 can testify and numerous friends whom he took out in his 40, or he let drive it for that matter will confirm that his cars were never lacking in performance.

I learned so much from Roy, about mechanical engineering, performance tuning, history, life, the list is endless. We would spend countless hours in his workshop or den, most weekends either fettling the cars and engines or producing new parts to try on track or test on the road. All the time we would listen to Glenn Miller’s Big Band sounds and many other such tunes from the 40s to 60s and Roy would reminisce and tell me of his early life stories, and what a life he’d had.

He had travelled the world doing all manner of engineering work. From running quarries and building works in Egypt, to re-engineering oil refineries in South Africa, demolition, heavy-transport, race team management, he’d done it all.

His motorsport activities also started at an early age, when he was an avid motorcyclist and visited the Isle-Of-Man on two-wheels many years before we finally returned there to compete in the 40s on four. His ability to engineer parts saw his race motorcycle have many innovative lightweight components that he had machined from magnesium incendiary bomb casings he had collected after the end of the war!

Let’s not forget, Roy competed in an age when Brands Hatch circuit ran anti-clockwise and long leather trench-coats and stitched crash helmets were the chosen protective clothing.

Settling in Kent but still working full time at his engineering works, Roy set to building model helicopters, live steam trains, boats and then at 60+, built and learned to fly a full-size helicopter, such was his drive and enthusiasm for all things mechanical.

He went on to build several GT40s and many performance parts for fellow enthusiasts, all the time encouraging new club members to take their cars on the track. At the height of the competitive period, the GTD40 Car Club would field as many as thirteen entries at sprints and hill climbs across the UK.

The Club attracted a broad spread of people of all ages taking part and all were younger than Roy, yet it was often Roy leading the field and many a driver would aspire to match his records. The Brighton Speed Trials was one event where he excelled, with his car taking the Dave Wilson Memorial Trophy no less than nine times over the years for fastest GT40 and where it also saw him run the first sub 12 second run for a normally aspirated 40 in 2004 at 11.83s, beating a Ferrari F40, Ferrari F50 and Lamborghini Diablo in the process.

As an aside, Roy was also elected the chairman of the GTD40 Car Club, a role he commanded in his own, often controversial, but always considered manner. Roy was never slow in coming forward to voice his opinions on whatever subject he desired, be it social injustice, immigration, local council matters, politics, nothing was held back from the man whose political positioning had on occasion been described as being somewhat to the right of Genghis Khan! A real pet hate of his was the pot-holed condition of the roads local to him and he regularly took the council to task over them.

One person to get the sharp end of his wit was non other than Jeremy Clarkson, who once commented in a Sunday paper that an elderly pipe and slippers generation should not be on the roads.

Roy wrote back, challenging Mr Clarkson to a timed lap or two of Goodwood motor circuit, an offer that Jeremy did actually respond to, thanking Roy for his offer but one he refused due to other commitments, adding that his comment was purely to get a reaction. Had he taken to the track, he’d have been shown the reaction too...!

I was lucky enough to have competed in Roy’s 40s for more than ten years and the blend of his mechanical performance enhancements, together with modern electronic engine management gave us the edge over many other drivers. In 2002 Roy’s 40 won eight out of ten events entered coming second in the other two.”

“Those of us that travelled round the sprint and hill climb circuit from ’90 to ’08 with our 40s had a lot of fun together,” said Andrew. “Roy was always there at the heart of it, encouraging and helping us. I really miss that infectious laugh, his warmth and that “can do” way of getting things done. Our group all still good friends and Roy will be both sorely missed and fondly remembered by us all.”

Roy is survived by his wife Val and daughter Jane. Our thanks to both of you for lending him to us for the odd weekend so that he could brighten our days up as well as yours.

Rest In Peace.

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A few pictures.
 

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Howard Jones

Supporter
I will make an exception on my self imposed absence in the padock for this one. Roy was a true really good man, helpful to even people he never met. I was asking about a piece for my GTD years ago and within a few days here comes a little cardboard box from England.

Low and behold Roy had sent me what I was looking for without even being asked. That really set my bar a bit higher. He really had me re access my own selflessness with that one. Made me better for it.

God bless you and yours Roy.
 
I'm really saddened to hear only today of the sad loss of Roy. I last spoke to him in his workshop with a cup of tea a few years ago. Many knew he had Cancer but I'm disappointed with myself that I did not go and see him more recently. I meet Roy in the late 90''s at Goodwood when GTD track days were events not to be missed, I rode with Roy in his 40 and this was one of the deciding factors to building my own GTD.
What I admired about Roy was his engineering knowledge of most things
'A REAL ENGINEER'.
Still racing in his later years should be an inspiration to us all that age shouldn't be a deciding factor for having such fun even though it slows us down.
I'll kick myself for not making more of an effort to see him.
RIP Roy
There's a saying 'Old racers never die, they just go faster'
 

Ron Earp

Admin
I was saddened when I learned about Roy's passing some weeks ago. I only met Roy and his wife once, whilst over visiting some of the UK forum members, and I'll always remember the visit to his workshop. Roy was extremely enthusiastic and showed me around his cars, model trains, engines, and all sorts of projects as if he'd known me for years. Roy was a a very unique person; an inventor, fabricator, inquisitor, and free thinker. The world will be a lesser place without him.
 
Hello everyone. I am Roy's daughter, Jane. I just wanted to say thankyou to everyone for your kind words about my dad. It has been a great comfort to my mum and myself.

Special thanks go to Paul Thompson and Andrew Fordyce for their tribute above and amusing anecdotes at the funeral.

We sent dad off, hopefully how he would have wanted, under the chequered flag.

This, hickup is obviously just a pit stop for dad and Im sure, he will by now, be organising a race track ready for you all. In his time, he laid roads, built model cars and full size ones, remote control model boats and full size ones, remote control model helicopters and a full size one and fully functioning model trains........we know where it was heading!!!!! Beeching would have had a fit!!!

Anyway, my point is, he is fully qualified to have everything ready so that for all of you, your pit stops will be just that...

many thanks everyone.
 
As many of you know, I've not been on GT40s.com for a few years now, so it is very sad to hear of Roy's death.
He repaired my GTD back in 2004 for me, and although I can't claim to have known him well, he was a thoroughly nice guy and a true enthusiast. Condolences to friends and family
Simon
 
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