Perky, diminutive, cheery, dynamic, cheeky and of course incorrigible are all terms that might be used to describe some-time Ecurie Scalpel hot-shoe Simon Diffey.  Every now and then the team cannot resist allowing work get in the way of racing and summon up the courage to ask Simon to go racing.  Every time I do this of course, three things usually happen.  First, Simon turns up and plants a series of stickers on the cars – “The Surgeons Choice” for example.  Second he tends to drive the cars faster than before which causes great embarrassment on my part but I suppose does act as some form of stimulus – “could do better” type of thing.  Third, something unexpected happens and in the case of the HSCC Doubles meeting at Snetterton he didn’t disappoint.

Your truly was in the US working so Diffey took the Chevron B28 for the Derek Bell Race.  More accurately, the Frank Lyons team took the car for Simon to drive and we all thought the Pau wobbles had been fixed (petrol smelly and dodgy gearshift).  Also on the card was the Elden Mk8 FF car that was making its debut after a restoration taking almost two years.  The basic deal after the rebuild was to hand the car over to Simon to let him run the car and set it up over a period of a few races.  Some chance eh!

Of course I don’t know any of this for sure because I was away working but I think the records seem to confirm the basic facts.  First up was the Chevron and very soon Diff had the car motoring and finished the first race not far behind race winner Frank Lyons.  The gearchange was a little better but still a little sluggish but even so 2nd place was not bad.

Then came the FF event.  The car had arrived completely virginal after the rebuild and the event was basically going to act as an extended test.  Good enough I suppose.  The problem was the scrutineers thought otherwise and soon started complaining about the car.  Alloy bodied shock absorbers are illegal in historic FF racing in the UK and the Elden seemed to have them all round.  Black mark No 1.  Also illegal in the UK are alloy radiators – black mark No 2.

OK, so here is the truth of the mater.  The shocks the car arrived with are steel – Carrera models from Canada where alloy shocks are also illegal.  Sadly, no magnets were available, the shocks looked very shiny and Simon knew no better.

The radiator however was a different matter.  Yes, I admit it, the bloody thing was alloy because WE knew no better.  The car arrived from Canada with a tired ally job and we simply replaced it like for like.  It’s a fair cop guv!

The outcome was that Simon was allowed practice and placed the car midfield in completely untried state.  The very kind and generous series guru, Jason Williams, offered to allow Simon race in a specially created invitational class – thank you Jason for that gesture – but Simon never got to hear of the offer.  Result?  No Race!!  Ho Hum and we will be back again.

 Never mind, there was race 2 of the Derek Bell to go and the dog would put everything right.  Well almost but not quite as I understand it!  This time he was right up with Frank – yes he won again – and matched his best lap times before running out of fuel two laps before the end!!  Double bugger.  Triple bugger really when it was discovered that there was loads of petrol still in the left side tank!!  We don’t seem to be able to catch a decent break right now.

Simon has promised to include this in an article for Ecurie Scalpel and I am sure he will tell you exactly what happened so it will be interesting to hear things from the driver’s perspective!!  From my position I now know the Chevron can motor and I simply want to drive it without being poisoned and while able to change gears!  As far as the Elden is concerned – I promise it will get better and better.


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