Another Review of Shale Britannia

Brian Owen, Argus, 13th June 2007

Speedway author and Eastbourne Eagles fan Jeff Scott has not just gone on a different racing line with his latest book. He has perfomed a publishing equivalent of turning his bike around and doing four laps in a clockwise direction.

Brighton-based Scott has followed up two in-depth looks at British, and Eastbourne, speedway with a light and easy pictorial companion, Shale Britannia. Featuring 245 colour photos, Shale Britannia (£15, Methanol Press) captures the ambiance, from the humorous to the humdrum, of the nation’s speedway tracks.

Scott drives the length and breadth of the country watching an array of meetings and reckons the book is “more of the family photo album than the sports media’s managed icons”. And it’s true. You don’t see many icons at places like Buxton, Rye House or Scunthorpe. But you see some real sights and some genuine enthusiasts.

Like the Fen Tigers supporter in full tiger outfit at Mildenhall. Or the Berwick enthusiasts carrying a full-size cardboard cut out of their favourite rider. They are two of the outstanding shots in the book.

As with many photo collections, what takes your fancy is a matter of personal taste. I think we might all agree the electricity pylons at Sittingbourne get a bit more exposure than they deserve. But there is plenty for the speedway fan to enjoy here and lots to smile at.

Scott’s two previous offerings have been hugely popular around speedway. This one, which is edited by Rachel Adams, could well get to the same chequered flag – just going the other way around.

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