THE fascinating tale of forgotten Irish motorsport star Tommy Byrne has been brought to life in a new documentary film which will hit British cinemas next month.
Drogheda native Byrne rubbed shoulders with F1 great Ayrton Senna in the early 1980s, but while the Brazilian went on to win three world championships, the Irishman slipped into obscurity.
“His rise was meteoric and his fall spectacular,” reads the synopsis, with the 80-minute documentary featuring first-hand anecdotes from the likes of Eddie Jordan, Martin Brundle and F1 author Michael Hughes.
Such was Byrne’s unique, charismatic talent, he progressed from driving a Mini Cooper in a stockcar race to competing in F1 – the pinnacle of motorsport – in just over four years.
However, as the documentary Crash & Burn outlines, it all fell apart for Byrne, who admits his party lifestyle and brash attitude may have prevented him from earning a fortune, though he now happily plies his trade as a driving coach in America.
After premiering at Sheffield Doc/Fest earlier this year to rave reviews, the documentary – which has been financially backed by both RTÉ and BBC Northern Ireland – will be screened at selected cinemas from December 2.
A special early showing will take place at London’s Picturehouse Central in Piccadilly on at 6pm on Wednesday, November 23, which will be followed by a Q&A session with Tommy Byrne and director Sean O’Cualain.