Alan Boyle has worked on them all. He started his career as a mechanic 22 years ago working in a GM dealership in Scotland. After some more time at a British Leyland shop, Boyle emigrated to Canada in 1988. After working at dealerships here until 1994, he left the security of a big shop and opened his own garage in Downsview, Sportique Motors Ltd. and specialized in BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar and Porsche. In 1997, good friend Fraser Bull asked him to help out on Robin Buck’s CASCAR. The following year he was lead mechanic for Buck’s UAP/NAPA Racing Team.
Boyle’s experience as a Class “A” mechanic over 22 years has helped him with the racing as well as creating and running a successful business. Sportique Motors started in a 2,000 sq. ft shop and developed a good customer base. The business grew until Boyle had to face the decision whether to stay “status quo” or to expand and try to grow the business. The soft spoken Scot had confidence and in 1998 moved into a 7000 sq. ft facility in North York, ON. “We specialize in the high end foreign cars,” says Boyle “but we will work on anything. We do a lot of fleet work and often we find if one car in the family is a Porsche a second car is a Sport Ute or some domestic. We work on them all.”
“Robin Buck’s crew chief at the time, is a friend of mine,” explained Boyle as to how he became involved in CASCAR. “Fraser needed some extra help at the end of the 1997 season, when Robin was running for STP and he asked me to come to a race and assist. I had been helping a friend of mine with a Mustang in the Motorola Cup and I found the CASCAR scene quite different. But, I guess I fit in with the STP crew and did a good job because Fraser asked me back as lead mechanic for the 1998 season. I’ve been there ever since.”
Boyle has the responsibility of maintaining the overall mechanical performance of the UAP/NAPA Pontiac Grand Prix under the guidance of crew chief, Scott Fletcher. Whether it be replacing a tie rod end or checking the oil in the engine, Boyle and his team of six assistants do it all. When the racing starts, Alan puts knee pads on and becomes the front tire changer during pit stops.
“I really enjoy the racing and find it very interesting,” says the 38 year old father of two. “Racing is totally different from the everyday business of fixing street cars. However, my experience with street cars helps me with the race car. Over the years I have found shortcuts to make certain jobs easier and faster – both things you need when working on the race car at the track. I can diagnose problems because of my work shop experience and save time in getting to the problem on the race car. Time is very valuable in racing.”
“I have found some of the aftermarket companies and products I have seen at the race track have helped me at Sportique,” said Boyle. “When I worked in a dealership we only had access to the manufacturers parts. High performance, aftermarket products were not available. Now, because of who I have met at the track, when one of my Porsche owners, for example, wants to improve his car, I have a broader knowledge of what parts are available and where I can get them. This just helps my business and makes my customers happy.”
“There are many things that are good about being in business for myself,” said Boyle. “The flexibility of my time is important, especially with the racing. I can arrange time to go with the Team to the Calgary and Edmonton CASCAR National events. It makes it a lot easier.”
“Racing is really exciting,” continued Boyle. “A day at the track is always a good challenge. The people I have met are really nice, I enjoy them. And the contacts I have made have helped me in my own business – it’s a good deal!”
Boyle celebrated Buck’s win at the Molson Indy last year and is looking forward to the Team’s first win on an oval track. When that happens, Alan Boyle will have the satisfaction of knowing he played a part in the win and that racing has helped his business. SSGM