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It is with great sadness that we have to inform Members of the death of Brian Joscelyne last Monday 9th November 2020, very peacefully, at his home in Braintree, Essex.  It was not Covid 19 – Brian had suffered several health problems which had increasingly confined him to home since last year.


Brian’s father Lewis Hamilton Joscelyne was the greatest influence on his motoring and photographic interests, having been a keen follower and recorder of racing in Britain and Europe pre-World War 2. In 1954, Lewis Joscelyne bought Brian, then 20, and his elder brother, Ben, an ex-Richard Stallebrass Aston Martin 15/98 to share as their daily driver. Brian was promptly called up, gained a commission and, on being posted to Catterick, had as a “company car”, a Royal Army Service Corps Land Rover!


After National Service, Brian trained as a Surveyor in London and Hertfordshire, gaining his RICS qualification before returning to Braintree to join the family firm – one of the oldest established Land Agents in the country.

He was able to acquire an Aston Martin DB3 and began competing with it in Aston Martin Owners’ Club events, winning the Club’s prestigious Arthur Bryant Trophy in 1960 and 1961. The DB3 was replaced by the ex-Ken Wharton/Berwyn Baxter DB3S with which Brian continued to compete regularly with AMOC.


Brian had joined AMOC in 1954 and reveled in Club life, subsequently becoming a major contributor to the Club’s publications and eventually as editor of them. As a mere 32 year old, he was awarded the Bertelli Trophy that confers lifetime membership of the AMOC on its recipient.  All the while, he carried a Pentax and Voightlander camera and recorded what he saw – a massive archive of Kodacolor as well as monochrome images of motor racing is the result. In later life he switched to video, with hours of footage as his archive.


In 1971 Brian was offered the chance to drive Bob Owen’s ex-Camoradi Maserati T61 ‘Birdcage’ in the JCB Historic Series and won his class after an excellent season which culminated in the final round at Crystal Palace in which he finished third behind Willie Green in the JCB T61 and Nick Faure in the Hexagon Jaguar D-type. Inspired by the championship success, later the same day Brian won the Charles Heidsieck Champagne Challenge ahead of Neil Corner’s Aston Martin DBR1 and Nick in the D-type.


Also in 1971 Brian joined forces with the late Tony Birchenhough as partners in Dorset Racing Associates for some international sports car racing. This was a ‘gentleman amateur’ team with highly professional delivery. Brian, ever self-deprecating, used to say that they had ‘lucked-in’ to class wins at Spa and the Nurburgring in those days. They still had to pedal (and pay) their way round. The organisers, particularly ACO, needed teams in the non-headline classes to make the Le Mans field realistic for the spectators. Initially with a Chevron-BMW B8 and subsequently with a long line of Lolas from a T212 in 1972 to a T297 in 1981, powered by BMW and Cosworth engines, DRA entered competent drivers, who put in the necessary practice, drove carefully-planned races and often finished well up.  


To help cover expenses, DRA had some ‘pay-drivers’. Nick Mason was one of them in 1979 at Le Mans. Nick’s previous racing experience at that time was pretty much limited to historic events of short duration but, fortified by Brian’s encouraging comments, Nick, together with Richard Jenvey, Brian himself and Tony brought the team’s Lola-Cosworth T297 home in 18th place overall, second in the 2-litre Group 6 class and victory in the Index of Fuel Consumption (as the Index of Thermal Efficiency had come to be called). Although Brian was the epitome of a very honest chap, he later confided that a team member (not Nick) had not managed to put in his requisite seat time in the dark at La Sarthe so Brian had borrowed his helmet and gone round for him.


In among this life, Brian acted as timekeeper for John Ogier’s Essex Racing Team of Aston Martins and the occasional Lotus 23, through which he came to know the team’s star driver, Jim Clark. Brian’s first ‘working’ visit to Le Mans had been in 1959 when he acted as team manager for the Syd Hurrell/Roy North SAAB 93GT team.  He raced at Le Mans three times – in 1976 with Tony, Simon Phillips and Ian Bracey when their Lola-Cosworth T294  finished second in the 2-litre Group 6 class, 1978 with Juliette Slaughter (later Brindley) and Ian Harrower when their Lola T294 retired and in 1979 as mentioned already. Brian’s other Le Mans race was the Cinquantenaire in 1973 when, as a sign of the high regard in which he was held by Aston Martin, he was entrusted with DBR1/4 (formerly DBR3/1).


Wherever he went, Brian had his cameras by his side and over the years he accumulated a remarkable archive of film and photographic images which must be almost unrivalled. Over the last few years he oversaw the preparation and production by Palawan Press of a sumptuous book entitled Racing Through Europe which is a superb tribute to Brian’s talents as a photographer and film maker in the days when access both trackside and to the pits and paddock was so much more readily available and race tracks tended to be more closed public highway than artificial creations. He will be sorely missed by all those that knew him, and the Club’s deepest condolences go to Ben, his brother, and all the Joscelyne family. Because of COVID-19 constraints, Brian’s funeral will be a small family affair.


The Club regrets to report on the death of Neville Hay, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1993
The Club regrets to report on the death of Alan Minshaw, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1984
The Club regrets to report on the death of Ray Thackwell who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1957
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