I had vaguely known George Sneath and Johnny Bartec from my earlier days prior to actually working at AFN, as I was always helping my brother Ginger out on GVB 911D in the evenings. These two men were responsible for re-building all the engines at AFN. Johnny Bartec who arrived in England from Hungary after the war was a real character.
I remember the first time I was doing a job in the engine shop; Johnny came over to see if I had any old gaskets and metal ‘O’ rings. When I asked him why, he told me he collected up all the old copper, aluminium and took it down to the scrap yard to sell. This was a man who knew the value of things and I admired Johnny very much and he retired during the time I worked at AFN.
At that time George had a “trainee” called Frank Wright who raced a 250cc Yamaha motorcycle at weekends. I was immediately drawn to the engine shop as I had spent so much time re-building engines and transmissions myself at Maltin’s. However the set-up at AFN was so much different and I was disappointed to find out that my chances of rebuilding engines were virtually zero. Therefore I got as many transmissions as I could to rebuild during my time there, which allowed me to work alongside George and Frank many times.
George knew some stories and was always whistling and singing saucy tunes with the odd joke thrown in.