London, United Kingdom, December 14, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- Crashed and Byrned by Tommy Byrne with Mark Hughes has today been named the William Hill Irish Sports Book of the Year for 2008 following a presentation in Dublin.
The book details the story of Tommy Byrne from Dundalk, and his controversial career in motorsport. From a poverty-stricken childhood in Dundalk to becoming the only racing driver that Ayrton Senna ever feared and how it all went wrong when he was so close to the top of world motorsport.
Byrne’s tale is one of the great untold stories of Irish sport. He depicts his tough battle to the top and his spectacular fall from grace when for a brief period he was arguably the world’s greatest driver. The book goes into every harrowing detail of Tommy’s life from his fame in motorsport, to his drug problems, driving for a billionaire madman and working for gun-toting Mexicans in the 1990’s.
Tony Kenny, William Hill Irish PR manager, said, “This is a fantastic story from start to finish and is one of the best sports books you will read. To win when up against such a strong shortlist will show everyone how good the book is. The judging panel felt the book displayed a level of honesty that many books fail to reach and it was a story which everyone with an interest in sport and further afield deserves to hear.”
Journalist Mark Hughes, who wrote the book with Tommy, was delighted to receive the award and be a part of the remarkable story; “It may not be the award Tommy was figuring on back in the day, when he was giving Ayrton Senna plenty to worry about on the race track, but it means a lot to both of us and I'm particularly pleased that it will play its part in ensuring this guy and his extraordinary story doesn't get forgotten.”
The book had stiff competition from a range of Ireland’s sporting heroes who made the six-book shortlist. This included Ronan O’Gara’s autobiography with Denis Walsh, Tom Humphries account of the life of Sonia O’Sullivan, two horse racing books on Mouse Morris and Mick Fitzgerald and Keith Duggan’s story from behind the doors of Mayo football, House of Pain.
Crashed and Byrned was also the public’s favourite book as it topped the poll on the Irishsportsbookoftheyear.com website. The website received nearly 3,000 votes since it went live in October.
This is the third year of the William Hill Irish Sports Book of the Year Award. The inaugural award was won by Paul McGrath with Vincent Hogan for Paul’s autobiography “Back from the Brink”. Last year’s award was won by Trevor Brennan with Gerry Thornley for “Heart and Soul”, which documented Trevor’s highs and lows through his rugby career in Ireland and France.
This year’s judging panel is made up of eleven of Ireland’s best sports commentators and experts. The panel includes RTE rugby pundit and Newstalk presenter George Hook, RTE’s Eamon Dunphy, Today FM and TV3 presenter Matt Cooper, UTV’s Adrian Logan and Setanta Sports’ Paul Dempsey.
William Hill Irish Sports Book of the Year – Judging Panel
Declan McBennett – Sports Editor, RTE TV News
Kieran Holden – Sports Editor, TV3
Deric Henderson – Ireland Editor, Press Association
Jerry O’Sullivan – Sports Editor, Newstalk
Matt Cooper – Broadcaster, Today FM and TV3
George Hook – Broadcaster and Rugby Analyst, Newstalk and RTE
Eamon Dunphy – Broadcaster and Journalist, RTE
Adrian Logan – Sports Editor, UTV
Paul Dempsey – Broadcaster, Setanta Sports
Robbie Irwin – Broadcaster and Journalist, RTE
Gerry Thornley – Journalist, Irish Times and winner of William Hill Irish Sports Book of the Year 2007