The family of a man who died in a collision between a classic blue Bugatti and an ambulance have paid tribute to the much loved and ‘larger than life character’.
Simon Diffey, 57, was driving the classic Bugatti when it was involved in a collision with an ambulance travelling on blue lights at around 6.30pm on Saturday (May 14).
Mr Diffey, from St Albans, was pronounced dead at the scene.
A family statement said: “We are so sorry to have to announce that our beloved Simon, everybody’s friend in historic racing paddocks, the ever-friendly, larger-than-life character who knew everyone and was known by everyone, tragically died on Saturday night in a road traffic collision while driving the much-loved little vintage Brescia Bugatti that he campaigned so well.
“Simon was a very talented racer, and a consistent winner in a variety of cars. He lavished meticulous care and preparation on the Bugatti, his Lotus Formula Juniors, the Connaught that he raced for a friend, and his self-built Humbug and Austin 7. Then he drove them to the maximum, whether in a VSCC trial or in the highest-profile races at Goodwood and in Europe.
“But more than that, he was a one-off: a hugely generous-spirited man who would help out a fellow-competitor, a friend or a stranger without a second thought. This was not only in motorsport but also in business, for his firm Merry Printers was the go-to supplier when teams, restoration firms, race promoters, clubs and private owners in the car world needed anything printed.
“Without effort, Simon could not help being an entertainer, generating outrageous fun wherever he went. With his warm generosity, and his skill and sportsmanship behind the wheel, small wonder that he was one of the best-known and best-loved people in historic motorsport. Suddenly all that has come to an abrupt halt, leaving only a gaping hole on the track and in the paddock, and a legion of friends with a burden of regret and sadness.
“A much-loved husband, son, father, brother-in-law and very proud grandfather, who cannot be replaced and will be forever in our hearts.
“Sarah and the Diffey family.”
Anyone with information or dashcam footage is urged to contact Detective Sergeant Ben Heath on 101 or online, quoting Operation Fortress.