Born in 1928, Dr John Mew was a dentist by trade, but has managed to a number of remarkable careers into his spare time.
On the grid at Brands, 4th October 1958
John’s 500 career ended at the Brands Hatch Boxing Day Meeting of 1959, as he planned a move to Juniors, but he would become associated with the season-closer again. He ran a Lotus 18, then 20, first in Europe, but then joining the Continental Tour that was becoming popular with British prize drivers. His racing highlight came at Monza. Scraping into the final qualifying place (30th, of 90 entries) a late idea to change gearing led to some fairly frantic work, utterly scuppered when a bolt was dropped into the open box. As the 15-minute klaxon called drivers to Assembly, John hit upon the only option – recruiting strong arms, they tipped the entire car upside down until the offending bolt fell back out (a trick we haven’t seen recently, but it worth filing away!). Suitably fired up, John fought through the field to pick up some decent prize money, and was summoned to meet Fangio who had waved the flag and wanted to meet this Englishman.
John's known results:
Back in the UK, the BRSCC asked John to dress up as Santa for the Boxing Day Meeting. Santa came better equipped this year, his Lotus 20 gaining antlers and a barrel of brandy for a couple of laps. John would perform this role for a few more years.
By 1963, John was restricting himself to racing in the UK. The 20 was replaced with a 22, and plan was hatched to drop a 1500cc Climax motor in and enter the British Grand Prix. That though was scuppered when the motor was destroyed in testing. John would wind down his racing over the next few years, and a huge Formula Libre accident in 1968 finally nudged him towards a family life.