7/12/1903 - 18/7/1978
Record updated 01-Mar-23
Brian Edmund Lewis, 2nd Baron Essendon known as Bug was a British motor-racing driver, company director, baronet, and peer.
Bug, otherwise know as Brian Lewis, 2nd Baron Essendon, was born in Edmonton, Middlesex, the 0nly son of first Lord Essendon, the shipping magnate, and his wife Eleanor (d.1967) daughter of R. H. Harrison of West Hartlepool.
Fitted out in a nice bespoke suit and tie here we find 'Bug' ready to tackle the outer circuit at Brooklands in 1930.
Educated at Malvern, and Pembroke College, Cambridge, he was one of a band of titled and pretty talented amateurs who were a key part of British motor sport in the 1920s and 1930s.
He was President of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and was motoring correspondent of the News Chronicle in the late 1930s. Director of Furness Withy (the family shipping firm), Barry Aikman Travel Ltd and Godfrey Davis & Co Ltd.
He had become interested in racing at an early age but encountered great resistance from his father who set about trying to convince his son that life was a serious affair which could never be started too young. However while up at Cambridge, he felt that it was safe to purchase 'Bunny' a famous Aston Martin. Unfortunately word got out and his father forced him to return it to the factory.
Rounding Arnage in the Talbot on his way to thrid at le Mans in 1930.
He proceeded to race mainly Frazer Nashes in the 1920s. In 1930 he finished 3rd at Le Mans behind the Bentleys of Barnato/Glen Kidston and Clement/Watney, driving with Hugh Eaton in a Talbot AO90. He was third again in 1932 once again driving a Talbot, this time an AV105 with Tim Rose-Richards and another third followed in 1933 again with Tim Rose-Richards but now with an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300.
Brian liked the Talbot AV105 and once said "Of all the cars I ever drove, from Frazer-Nash to Monoposto Alfa Romeo and Type 59 Bugatti, the 105s were the nicest to push to the limit, and only the Monza Alfa would go round corners quicker."
During practice for the 1932 Tourist Trophy, Brian took Arthur Fox, the importer, out for a ride. Unfortunately just after Quarry Corner the back wheel came off fortunately without serious damage.
In the 1932 International Alpine Trial, Brian Lewis and Arthur Fox were teamed in one of the 105s with Tim Rose Richards and Don Wilcockson in the second and Norman Garrad and Jack Playford in the third. They turned out to be the fastest team entry on the Trial and finished most stages with plenty of time to spare. However on the fifth day with everything going according to plan when the lead car arrived at the top of the Col de Galibier. Suddenly there was a terrible noise and Lewis pulled over and turned the engine off. Suddenly they were joined by both Tim Rose Richards and Norman Garrad. All beset with the same problem. As they sat there with the engines off, the noise started again. They looked around and saw a gang of workmen a little further up the mountain, hard at work with pneumatic drills! They went on to win the team prize without incurring a single penalty, the first time that had been achieved.
Mannin Moar 1934 in the Alfa Romeo Tipo B
In 1933 he won at the first Mannin Moar race after Charles Brackenbury had taken an early lead. The race then developed into a fight between George Eyston and Lewis in their Alfa Romeo Monzas and Rose-Richards in a Bugatti. On lap 7 Lewis took the lead from Euston and held it to the finish. He won there three more times, in 1934 driving an Alfa Romeo Tipo B, in 1935 with a Bugatti T59 and in 1937 with another Alfa Romeo.
He raced in a number of Grand Prix on the Continent and took part in the Vanderbilt Cup in 1936. In the late 1930s, he became a motoring correspondent and was a President of the Guild of Motoring Writers.
He entered a private Maserti 8CM at the Swiss Grand Prix 1935. As The Times put it in 1978:
'Along with a distinguished band that included Lord Howe, Sir Henry Birkin, and the Earl of March, later the Duke of Richmond, he was one of a bunch of titled and talented amateurs who did much for the image of British motor racing in the 1920s and 1930s, albeit mainly at the wheel of foreign cars.'
In 1938 he married Mary, widow of Albert Duffil, daughter of G. W. Booker of Los Angeles and in 1944 he succeeded his father in the peerage and baronetcy, taking the title of 2nd Baronet Lewis and that of 2nd Baron Essendon.
A member of the Bath Club, his main recreation was golf. He lived at Avenue Eglantine 5, Laussanne, Switzerland. He died there in 1978. As The Times put it in 1978:'Along with a distinguished band that included Lord Howe, Sir Henry Birkin, and the Earl of March, later the Duke of Richmond, he was one of a bunch of titled and talented amateurs who did much for the image of British motor racing in the 1920s and 1930s, albeit mainly at the wheel of foreign cars.'