Champion of Champions


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2 February 2018 – Amazon Customer: A genuinely fantastic read!

With the author’s history in sports writing you may be forgiven for thinking (because you’d be wrong) that this is a cycling book with a bit of a story on the side. Champion of Champions is so much more. In fact, as I delved deeper into the book it was David Brayley’s character’s and the emotions so deeply entwined in the story that kept me turning the pages. Of course, the sporting element is the cornerstone on which this story is built but for me it was David Brayley’s ability to capture a scene so vividly and make his characters so real that won me over.

Already looking forward to David’s next work.

1 February 2018 – Rambling Man: Enjoy the journey.

This book has many things to offer a bit like eating Neapolitan ice cream with the various layers there to enjoy.
I love the references to Swansea and Gower, the background to the Legend Fausto Coppi, the links to fact and fiction, the today and yesteryear. But particularly strong is what happened over a three week period in Italy between three generations of a family which you reflect upon some days after finishing the book.
Strong messages appear throughout the book to both young and old and it is clear why the author is someone who encourages young people to read in schools. I particularly loved the relationship between the grandfather and grandson as it reminded me of that classic book ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’.
The grandfather’s character retaining some of the ‘dark past’ which is only resolved by having his grandchild’s innocence but also wisdom to unlock the past of these characters?
This book is certainly a turn pager, leaving you with you wanting more after every chapter and I endorse what Peter James says in his foreword that ‘It fully deserves a wide readership’. Therefore, I wish the Author success in publicising his novel.

27 October 2017 – Nick R: Inspirational, uplifting, entertaining.

As someone who cycled competitively throughout my teenage years and into later life I am always sceptical about books written about bike racing. They are usually cliched, fantastical, too technical, boring or just plain uninformed.

I don’t know if David Brayley used to ride a bike or indeed still does, but his book doesn’t suffer any of the above pitfalls. It is obviously well researched in its history and fabric of bike racing but to see it as a book about only bikes is to do it a disservice as it is about so much more. It tells of morals, respect and the love of a family through the eyes of a bike mad boy growing up, and it was these elements that kept me turning the pages when I really should have got off to sleep.

If you are a teenager or are the parent of one, there is so much in this book for you regardless of whether you’re into cycling or not. If you are a cycling fan then that’s a bonus.

15 October 2017 – Andrew Taylor: Clever, thoughtful…wonderfully uplifting.

I’ve just finished reading this book and have to confess I am emotionally exhausted. My cheeks are still aching as I’m writing this! What a fantastic piece of work. This nostalgic and touching story, skilfully exploring the emotions and thoughts of a boy becoming a man, I’m certain will resonate with many people – male and female, young and old.
It brought back emotions I had experienced myself through my teenage years (and indeed as a twenty-something) and at times it made me feel like the author was writing about my own thoughts and feelings.
Such an uplifting read; I can’t wait for the film that this story should definitely become!
Looking forward now to the next book… get a move on Mr Brayley, and congratulations on delivering such an effective page-turner!

PRESS RELEASE – BOOK REVIEWS – 10 September 2017

I’m thrilled to be able to share two pre-publication reviews of ‘Champion of Champions’.

The first is from award winning and multi million selling author, Peter James.

Peter has written 11 consecutive Sunday Times No 1s, published in 37 languages, as well as being a New York Times bestseller. His DS Roy Grace crime novels have sold 18 million copies worldwide.  His novels have won numerous awards, most recently the coveted 2016 CWA Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence, and he was publicly voted by WHSmith readers The Best Crime Author Of All Time.

To have Peter agree to review the book in the first place was a huge honour, but to receive such an incredibly positive and generous review, basically knocked me sideways! I am so grateful to you, Peter.

“This terrific book contains two things that are dear to my heart.  The love of sport and the love of reading.  Although written principally for the young adult market, I think this is a book that would appeal to all ages, regardless of whether you love cycling or not.

It is a deep, rich story about family conflict, history, determination, achievement and ultimate success.   I hope you enjoy it, it fully deserves the success of a wide readership.”

Peter James, Sussex, 2017

Peter also provided the following quote for use on the cover of the book:

Quote:   “This is a great, inspirational and pacy read, beautifully written and utterly enriching with a stunning climax.”

Additionally, the book was also reviewed by Jim Gracey, the Group Sports Editor of the Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life. A multiple winner of the Northern Ireland Sports Journalist of the Year award, Jim has spent a lifetime in sports reporting, covering a multitude of sports, so again, his positive words regarding the book, were incredibly well received and to receive the seal of approval from a man so well respected in the world of professional sports-writing, was another incredibly humbling moment. Many, many thanks, Jim.

“What a smashing piece of work by David Brayley, a writer with a style and ideas of his own.. like his cycle racing subject matter, a real breath of fresh air. David teaches us life and relationships are like learning to ride a bicycle. When you fall off,  you can nurse your grazes or get back in the saddle and try again until you get it right. Champion of Champions is a life cycle journey. . . Over the potholes, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes painful but, lessons learned, ultimately gainful.”

‘Champion of Champions’ is due for publication in October 2017.


COVER COPY – 24 June 2017
I’m delighted to be able to share with you the copy that will appear on the back cover of the book, that will hopefully encourage the prospective reader to buy ‘Champion of Champions’. Please feel free to spread the word! All the best, Dave.

“What would you do if you were a professional road cyclist and, due to a run of bad injuries and loss of form, were told that your career would be over tomorrow, if you didn’t do well in one of the world’s toughest races?

Welcome to the world of Daniel Williams.
Daniel’s dream of being a leading professional cyclist is nearly over but, far from being worried, he believes he has the answer. The only thing he’s got to do is remember it. To do that, he needs to go back to the very beginning of his journey as a 14 year old bike rider, which began in the leafy lanes of Wales’ Gower Peninsula and then made a shock detour to the empty roads of rural Italy.

It was there that he first came across what was to become his mantra – “to be the best that you can be” – by an eccentric man he had never met before. The stranger introduced Daniel to the world of legendary Italian racer, Fausto Coppi, and inspired the teenage boy with stories of Coppi’s excellence, bravery, success but ultimate heartbreak.

But the eerie man with the detailed knowledge hides a dark secret. Once before he had tried to inspire a teenage cyclist and the horror of how that particular episode panned out is slowly revealed to Daniel.

In a story that threatens to tear Daniel’s family apart, will he be able to navigate this journey and call on the reasons that led him to be a professional cyclist in the first place?

If he can, he might just be able to deliver a performance in the infamous Milan-San Remo race that may save not only his career but everything his life has meant to this point. But, will the memories be too painful, or will they lead to ultimate success?”

PRESS RELEASE – 1 February 2017

Award-nominated sports biographer, David Brayley, will release his first novel in October 2017, with Leeds-based Scratching Shed Publishing.

The story, which David has written to encourage children and their parents to read together, tells the tale of a professional cyclist called Daniel Williams the night before the most important race of his career – the Milan-San Remo.

Whilst the book is fictional, the true life story of Italian cycling legend Fausto Coppi is re-told by one of the central characters. Two of the main themes are inspiration – in Daniel’s case from his grandfather – and the complex relationship sons can have with their fathers. With the story reaching an emotionally charged crescendo, it illustrates how the pressures of following a life in professional sport can deliver sinister results.

Getting young people, and boys in particular, reading is a passion for David: “Statistics consistently show, boys in the UK have underachieved educationally compared to girls, and this has always been linked to a lack of interest in reading,” he says.

“I am a firm believer that if we can get young people to engage with reading, then everything else can fall in to place.

“Since publication of my first book back in 2008, a key part of my life has been visiting schools. Wherever I go, a significant number of boys tell me that the one thing they want to read about is sport, but the regular message I also receive is that they don’t feel there is a big enough variety of sports based books – especially novels – to encourage them.

“That’s why I decided to write ‘CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS’ and I dearly hope that the book will ultimately help some young people on their journey to embrace reading for pleasure as a lifelong skill.”

Phil Caplan, Co-Director of Scratching Shed Publishing adds:

“We were struck by the powerful themes in the novel.

“There has never been a greater range and diversity in children’s books but David has found a niche marrying cycling – currently one of the popular participation and highest profile sports – with a story based on its heritage that we feel will appeal to a modern, young audience.”

About the author

CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS will be David Brayley’s fifth book, but first novel. He has written three books based on Swansea City Football Club, including his acclaimed work with captain of Wales, Ashley Williams. Their book “Ashley Williams – My Premier League Diary” was the best-selling Welsh sports book of 2012. His first work, “There’s Only Two Tony Cotteys”, was shortlisted for the MCC Cricket Society Book of the Year in 2009. He has strong links with the National Literacy Trust and their Premier League Reading Stars Literacy Programme, and between 2015-16, actively contributed to the Trust’s Premier League Reading Stars (Cymru) Programme. He lives in Swansea