14. Crash & Byrne

Tommy Byrne was as good a race driver as Aryton Senna. It was really unusual to have two such extreme talents Crash & Byrneto come along at the same time racing against each other. This was in the days where you had to buy yourself a drive with a professional team. Senna son of a millionaire, Byrne not a penny to his name. Tommy begged borrowed and stealed to race. The film Crash and Burn depicts his life. He was a whisker away from a £100 million fortune.
Crash & Byrne

At the petrol station where he worked as a youngster in Dundalk Ireland, the customers wondered if they would ever see him again. Speed would kill him. He talked fast, walked fast, drove fast. His life was fast. There are two schools of thought. Tommy screwed it up for himself, or the Grand Prix racing car culture didn’t accept him. Tommy was cocky, confident and full of self belief. He could not be told. He was not going to play the game of being diplomatic, or changing himself to suit anyone else.

From a poor working class background Tommy was seen as chippy and rebellious against the conservative business culture of the Formula racing car scene. And why not. Oppression and poverty is a deadly cocktail. Most have no way of escaping poverty and being able to compare to a wealthier background. Tommy’s incredible speed talent catapulted him into a world of miliionaires where he had nothing.

As ever – anyone else from a similar background following the same route into the same sport has little sympathy for him. Tommy messed up. He didn’t make up for his weaknesses. He was inflexible and not able to adapt to another culture. It is common for us to defend against where we might have failed but have succeeded. It wasn’t luck but our own hard work and talent. It is too painful to think it is not us, our own talent, and personality.

With the booze, drugs and women and millions to spend on these habits: his failure to enter the big league might have saved his life. But Tommy like us all was a product of his beginning, except most of us do not have such a singular talent. Like athletes in any sport with huge talent to come from poverty to potential or actual wealth they are thrown back on themselves and early building blocks.
The other example of a boozing womanising racing driver was James Hunt. A hellraiser with a prodigious talent. Except he was posh.
Crash & Byrne

Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2017
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Disclaimer:This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique
Crash & Byrne

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