INSTITUTE: Liam Beckett’s autobiography to be launched this summer

Liam Beckett standing beside a Robert Dunlop painting in his family Ballymoney home.
Liam Beckett standing beside a Robert Dunlop painting in his family Ballymoney home.

Ex-Institute manager Liam Beckett will spend time at the TT promoting his eagerly anticipated new book, which features his memoirs.

Published by Blackstaff Press, the book is due to hit the shelves before the North West 200 in May.

“It’s an exciting time and all the hard work with the book has come to fruition,” Beckett said.

“We’re in the final stages now with the publishers and I couldn’t be happier with how it’s progressing. There are so many wonderful stories in there and everyone involved is looking forward to the big launch before the North West.

“One thing I’m especially looking forward to about this book is the opportunity to shred the myth that Joey and Robert didn’t get on. That is simply not the case and I am glad that I have the chance to set the record straight in that regard because the boys were very close and had huge respect for each other.

“It was hard for Robert to make his way in racing because he was always known as Joey’s wee brother. It wasn’t easy for him to come out of Joey’s shadow.

“People used to tell Robert there was only one Dunlop in road racing and after hearing it all the time, it got to the stage where he started to believe it. A big part of my job at the beginning was getting Robert to realise his own potential, to make him see that he had a special talent for motorcycle racing as well.

“There are a lot of stories that have never been told before. Some of these tales are fun and some are not so fun, but I’ve used this book to tell them all.”

Robert was killed during a practice crash at the North West 200 in 2008, almost eight years after his brother Joey’s fatal accident in Tallinn, Estonia.

“The book will be split between football and motor bikes,” added the BBC Radio Ulster pundit.

“I’ve been very very lucky because I’ve had a great life in sport and I’ve been very lucky because many of the teams I played for were good sides and I won all the major medals I could have, so there are an awful lot of stories which goes along with that.

“All my years being involved in sport I’ve met some amazing people and I’m very fortunate that I’ve become friends with lots of people from different sports like the Frampton’s.

“You meet some incredible people but I’ve also met some less savoury characters as well and I’ll be telling that in the book.”