In the World Endurance paddocks he was well loved as an irreverent joker who, nonetheless, knew how to ride fast. He had visited me many times in the commentary booth at various 24 hour races in Europe - no matter that the booths were built for two and there were already 5 people inside...he was a great laugh, a good friend, a wicked rider and getting faster year on year (UK riders are like good wines).
Simon "Ronnie" Smith has touched hearts around the world and he would be extremely surprised at the level of sympathy his death has generated throughout the world. The RaceCorporation website has seen ten times as many people visiting to find out news about Ronnie, not only from the UK and the States but also from such diverse places as Finland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Greece, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Iceland, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovenia...the list is long and impressive.
"Ronnie" will be laid to rest in a small family service in North Yorkshire on Saturday afternoon at 1pm UK time.
We can't all be there in person but most of us will be there in spirit.
Eurosport/Octagon race commentator