The Cadwell Diary of Simon Diffey 

Loose Nuts


When I last saw DCPR it was Thursday afternoon at the HGPCA test day when

the freshly rebuilt gear box had mysteriously gone tight. Inspection showed

that the pinion nuts had come undone. I reported this to the box builders

who said "Oh yes, you have the early VW pinion with right hand threads,

they are always coming undone, bring it back and we will have a look”


So 4 hours later they had the box for Friday morning and I collected it

Friday night complete with a parcel label that read. 'Loctite and retighten

nuts" Could have done with that label last month!!!


This left me with Saturday to refit the box and 6 hours later Sarah and I

were on our way to a delightful B & B in Wragby 15 minutes from Cadwell


I had entered for the Junior race at the end of the day, but arrived by 9am

to sign on for a late entry for the Classic Racing Cars race in case the Prof

wanted to use my Gold Lotus 20 Junior as his damaged F2 Crossle was not



Scutineering was a breeze, but when I put my foot on the clutch to drive

away the pedal went to the floor. On inspection I realised that the "Bobbin"

Spacer between the box and clutch was missing. I hadn't taken it off and had

assumed it was still be on the input shaft!  With 3 hours to Junior qualifying

all hands set to ripping the box out and using short spacers from Mike Hibberd’s

Lotus 22 spares box I just made 3 laps to qualify 9th behind Hibberd.  This

put me last on the back of the grid for the Classic Race and I was happy to

finish 5th in the damp conditions.


For the Junior race I was well placed on the right side at row 5 and made a

fast start into P5 right behind Andrew and Mike Hibberd. Still on the first

lap I was surprised to see Chris Drakes Brabham BT6  attempt a dive down the

inside at the Goose Neck, this didn't concern me as when you do this, you

are badly positioned to get the power on early for the exit.


As the Hibberds and I were all nose to tail correctly on line, we had the run to

the Mountain leaving Drake to slot back in behind. I got my head down and

stuck on Mike’s tail as the next place to make a move is to slip stream out

of Barn for a sling shot pass down the start finish straight.


To my utter surprise Chris Drake made a lunge for the inside of Barn and his

front left wheel clipped my rear right wheel pitching my car into a series

of barrel rolls and I ended up side down against the barrier.


With dented shoulder and covered in mud I surveyed my car which had lost its

front wheels and steering, but worse still the twisting force had broken the

engine mounts, gear box side plates and drive shafts. Thankfully the chassis

had been re - tubed by Mike Hibberd with a thick roll over hoop when I

restored the car a few years back and this undoutedly saved me from serious



It has been suggested that I must have turned across Drake, but when you

are committed through an off camber right hander, it just isn't possible to

turn the car in any further……


After 20 years and 152 races without incident, I have had 2 in 4 races.

Perhaps a rest period is required.


A rather Stiff Diff.


Back To Results Index