I was an enthusiastic young worker and I began turning out refurbished ailerons too quickly! I subsequently had a friendly visit from a nice man from our union and he said, “You are showing up the other chaps in your section and please slow down.” I laughed this off at the time but a year later and after my second run in with the union for a similar issue, I became very restless and really questioned what I was doing? I think I was becoming politically aware at that time.
My father was a dyed in the wall socialist, a very active member of his union, which I respected. He did an enormous amount of work for other people, especially disabled and underprivileged kids. We ended up having a big disagreement about the union situation at Hawker’s, but I was insistent I was not going to have someone tell me to slow down!
After a couple more months, in the fall of 1970 during my second year, I resigned from Hawkers and left my apprenticeship. My time there was definitely not a waste of time as I did achieve the Engineering Industrial Training Board Parts A & B and Part C in Mechanical Engineering and much more importantly, I had a taste of working inside the four walls of a factory, which I knew was not for me.
If I am being totally honest the Porsche bug was gaining momentum, which influenced my decision as set out in the next chapter of this book.
My brother Ginger had left AFN to join Sport Cars Switzerland owned and run by a Swedish gentleman called Richard Broström, based in Lausanne, Switzerland. They were racing Porsche 907, 908 and 910 sports cars all over Europe, so whenever my brother’s team raced in Great Britain and on some other European dates, I was off working all hours and helping him prepare these cars, sometimes missing out on my apprenticeship at Hawkers.
Porsche was calling…..