When Eagles Dared was conceived and written as a companion to Jeff Scott’s successful first book, Showered in Shale.
By Jeff Scott: Obsessive Author of the yet to be award-winning Showered in Shale
Methanol’s latest book is called When Eagles Dared: A Whimsical Account from the terraces behind Board 51 (and lurking at tracks elsewhere) of a Triumphant Eastbourne Speedway season with ultimate success missed by a merest Cat’s Whisker that features those handlebar heroes: Nicki, Floppy, Mooro, Deano, Watty, Shieldsy plus bosses, Cooky and Geery, and a vital yet innumerable cast of others – the whole experience crowned with the unique aural accompaniment of MC KC, oh, and not forgetting our own inimitable “Arena track specialist” Mr Steen Jensen… but sadly missing a chat with the Dugard’s’
It was a season that had everything. Fantastic races, routine races, falls, failed ambitions, injuries, fights, controversy, laughter, despair, weird decisions, tantrums, a rich tapestry of speedway people on and off the terraces – and, of course, a dinner dance.
When Eagles Dared is a month-by-month account of the 2005 season which featured an impressive number of Eastbourne Eagles fixtures – probably more than any other speedway club raced in any British league that year.
Eastbourne (Jeff Scott’s local side) has a genuine sense of community that can’t be easily faked. The racing is consistently good to exciting, the atmosphere is special, and there’s traditional craftsmanship practised. Like any great British speedway club, Eastbourne has its own past and present pantheon of “handlebar heroes”, riders who matter-of-factly put their lives on the line every week and every time they race. All this just to earn a living and to provide our weekly speedway entertainment.
In a sense, When Eagles Dared could be about the experience of supporting any speedway club or could cover any season. As fans we’re perpetually caught on the outside of what really happens in our club. We try to glean information from what we read in the press, the programme and look at, if we dare, on the Internet. And then there’s what we hear on the terraces and in the bar: that mix of blind optimism, despair, fiction presented as fact, only seeing what you want to see, complaints and mickey taking. We don’t have the inside scoop or know the half of it so we have to make presumptions – often incorrect ones – about motives and actions and mine a rich seam of half-truths, rumours, and innuendo. This book, in fact, describes what it’s like for any sort of sports fan to follow their own particular club – whether speedway or not.
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“Jeff Scott has recaptured some of the magic of the 2005 season in this highly readable book… this impressive book [is] another must for the enthusiasts’ bookshelf.”
John Hyam, South London Press
“[When Eagles Dared is] Jeff Scott’s riveting personalised account of Eastbourne’s 2005 campaign….it’s a companion to Jeff’s better known book ‘Showered in Shale’….some of the material may be a little dated now but it is still a remarkable read and something completely different to any other books on the overcrowded market. Jeff has a very personal style that you might either love or hate but I found it riveting and enjoyed almost every word.”
Peter Oakes, Speedway Star
“It’s been given the Jeff Scott treatment…he has a quirky style and gives readers something they do not get from the local papers, and the national speedway magazine – a view of the sport from the terraces.”
Richard Weston, Sussex Express
“I’ve read both of Jeff’s books and though I slightly prefer Showered in Shale, this one is excellent as well. It’s great that someone puts in so much detail about the meetings they attend, we probably all notice the same things that he does but we immediately forget they’ve happened!”
Mark Wilson, Speedway Plus
“There is something special about a long sultry night of racing at Arlington Stadium. Prolific speedway writer Jeff Scott has managed to capture that, and the less memorable meetings as well, in his latest book…[written] from down there amid the programme boards and baseball caps on the terraces as he brings us the characters, comics and cynics he meets on his travels….Scott can offer some cutting humour when required…..the chapter dealing with the [Eagles End of Season Dinner Dance] is one of the most fun.”
Brian Owen, Brighton Evening Argus
“This book is not just for Eastbourne fans either, it’s an open, honest and at times hilariously funny account of one team’s roller coast ride. If you enjoyed ‘Showered in Shale’ you’ll love this book just as much. Once again author Scott gives his own take on everything he’s sees in front of him in his original way.”
Nick Ward, World Speedway