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NOTICE OF DEATH - EDWARD NELSON (1934 - 2019)

We regret to have to inform Members of the death on Monday of Life Member Edward Nelson following recent health complications. He was 85 years of age. Edward, who was elected to the BRDC in 1967, served first as a member of the Club’s General Committee and subsequently as a Board member from 1974 to 1992. Although giving his occupation as ‘Gentleman’ on his membership application form, Edward held various administrative positions with the Daily Mirror Group including Managing Director of the Group’s commercial transport company and subsequently Group Hospitality Manager for the Maxwell Communication Corporation.

Edward began racing in 1964 with one of the Dick Protheroe Jaguar E-type FHCs CUT 8 re-registered as 105 ENX with which he enjoyed some success including a win in the St Andrews Cup at Brands Hatch in October 1965 and third place at Mallory Park on Boxing Day of that year. His first foray to race in Europe came in the 1966 Nurburgring 1000 Ks when he shared the E-type with Rhoddy Harvey-Bailey. A few weeks later he tackled the long, very hot Circuito del Mugello road race in the E-type driving solo for over five hours and finishing 30th overall.

Towards the end of 1966 Edward acquired Peter Sutcliffe’s Ford GT40 #1009 with the intention of participating in the Springbok Series in South Africa. However, shipping delays meant that the car arrived back late from Australia, where Peter had been racing it, so Edward acquired a half share in Colin Crabbe’s GT40 #1021. Their best result was fifth place in the Lourenco Marques 3 Hours while Edward driving solo was also fifth in the opening round of the South African Sports Car Championship at Kyalami. After sharing Peter Clarke’s Ferrari 275LM in the Daytona 24 Hours to finish 21st overall, Edward embarked on a full season with the GT40 both in the UK and many of the major European races. He won the Preis der Nationen at Hockenheim and finished fifth in the Zeltweg 500 Ks on the old airfield circuit. Returning to Mugello, Edward finished 13th overall and won the Group 4 Sports Car class, sustained in the intense heat by pausing on every lap in a village at the top of the Futa Pass for a bottle of Campari soda.

Edward took #1009 to the Springbok Series at the end of the year and enjoyed some very good results including third places in the Kyalami 9 Hours and the Lourenco Marques 3 Hours with Mike Hailwood as co-driver and third place driving solo in the Roy Hesketh 3 Hours at Pietermaritzberg. From South Africa the GT40 was taken to the Daytona 24 Hours followed by the Sebring 12 Hours. Edward and Mike retired at Daytona but Edward finished 16th and first in class at Sebring with David Piper as co-driver. Edward’s first taste of a Lola T70 came a couple of weeks later in the BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch where he co-drove Jackie Epstein’s car to 18th overall. For the next few months the previously reliable GT40 became a regular retirement but it was during this period that Edward had his single works drive when he shared the original Marcos Mantis with its creator, the late Jem Marsh, in the very wet Spa 1000 Ks.

The second part of the 1968 season was much more successful beginning with the Martini Trophy at Silverstone at the beginning of July in which Edward finished third. This was followed by a win at Crystal Palace. In the Guards Trophy at Brands Hatch Edward fought a protracted battle for fourth place with the Lola T70s of Mike d’Udy and Ulf Norinder which ended with a puncture and relegation to seventh place at the finish. In his final two races with #1009, both in Germany, Edward finished seventh in the Preis der Nationen at Hockenheim and second to the similar car of Paul Hawkins in the Eifelpokalrennen on the Nurburgring Sudschleife.

In total Edward competed in some 48 international and important national races with #1009 and probably covered more racing miles in a GT40 than anyone else. The faithful green GT40 was then sold to Sir Malcolm Guthrie and Edward went into partnership with Jackie Epstein to co-drive Jackie’s Lola T70. Disappointingly the T70 retired from just about every race and Edward hung up his helmet in mid-1969 after an outing in the Solituderennen at Hockenheim in one of Sir Malcom’s recently acquired Mirage M1s.  He continued to be very much involved as Team Manager with Jackie Epstein’s successful Formula 5000 team over the next few years.

Apart from his motor racing achievements Edward was a keen bobsleigher, representing Great Britain as a member of the four man team at the 1965 and 1966 World Championships. Away from competitive pursuits, Edward was one of only 128 members of the Worshipful Company of Weavers in the City of London. The BRDC extends its deepest condolences to Edward’s wife Sandra, children Amos and Daisy and grandchildren Herbert and Arthur.

Members are welcome to attend Edward’s funeral at 11am on Wednesday 12 June at St Paul’s Church, Wilton Place, Belgravia, London SW1X 8SH.  Family flowers only.

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