f Jean Foster & the Continental Circus

Norton Motorcycles 1950s

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Jean Foster & the Continental Circus

Jean Foster's uncle told her "nice girls don't go overseas with their boyfriends", so off she went to distant Europe to live in the back of a van with a bunch of feisty young Australian adventurers. In the swinging sixties, she was a queen!

Being the daredevil passenger, leaning out of a motorcycle sidecar outfit at 160km/h, was not how dress-cutter Jean Kilpatrick saw her future when she left Melbourne with her racer boyfriend Ray Foster late in 1958.

She became part of the free-wheeling professional motorcycle racing scene known colloquially as the Continental Circus. This loose collection of riders, partners and helpers roamed Europe for five months each year, living out of vans and racing in different town every week.

"Ray went to England in 1958 to passenger for Lindsay Urquhart and I went too," she said. "We couldn't really afford to go to England, but when you're young you do things anyway, if you want it badly enough.

"At the end of 1959, Lindsay came home and Ray decided he'd get a sidecar; it was cheaper and more convenient for me to be the passenger," Jean said. "There was no need to pay, transport and feed a third person. He bought a Manx Norton, stuck a chair on it and we set off on the Continent."

~ Don Cox, Circus Life

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