A St Albans grandfather died when the classic Bugatti he was driving was involved in a crash with an ambulance.

The family of Simon Diffey, aged 57, paid tribute to a "larger-than-life character and generous spirit".

Simon was involved in the crash on the A6 Barton Road, between Luton and Bedford, on Saturday, May 14.

Emergency services, including Bedfordshire Police, were called to the scene at around 6.30pm, but the Bugatti driver died at the scene.

A family statement reads: "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 motor sport.

"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."

The ambulance involved in the crash was travelling on blue lights at the time.

A Bedfordshire Police spokesperson said: "With the support of specially trained officers, Simon's family have issued a tribute and asked for privacy at this difficult time.

"Anyone with information or dashcam footage is urged to contact Detective Sergeant Ben Heath, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire Special Collision Investigation Unit, by calling 101 or reporting online (https://www.beds.police.uk/), quoting Operation Fortress."