Circus Life

Australian Motorcycle Racers
in Europe in the 1950s

Circus Life


“Great book!” – Jay Leno, Los Angeles, California
› See Jay Leno’s interview with the author

“I congratulate you on a monumental work, truly superb, so detailed…I was particularly impressed by the chapter on the money side of things…the amount of money paid by Moto Guzzi to Ken Kavanagh was a real eye opener.” – Mick Woollett, 1950s GP sidecar passenger, GP photo-journalist, motorcycle newspaper editor and book author, Hemel Hempstead, England

“What you have achieved with this book is quite incredible – stories of lives and racing that would have been lost if you had not had the determination to set it down on paper.” – Dr Martin Raines, MotoGP statistician

“It’s an extraordinary achievement – mammoth research, lucidly written and with such care, fabulous photographs. I love looking at the faces of those vibrant young men and women.” – Debra Oswald, Sydney author and head scriptwriter for the TEN television series “Offspring”

“The book is just fantastic; the kind of book I have always dreamed would come out one day. Congratulations on your excellent result. As a long standing racing book collector, I have my favourite books and your Australian Heroes has been my favourite since it came out, but this now will be up there as well.” – Elwyn Roberts, North Wales

“Fantastic. Just what our history needed. Thank you.” – Dwayne Birthisel, Lake Boga, Victoria

“You’ve captured the 1950s, captured the lifestyle. The best book on 1950s racing.” – Tony Jarrett, nephew of 1950s racer Roger Barker

“For most of my life I have been buying, selling, collecting and reading out-of-print books on cars and motorcycles and none of them compare with this book. The text with so many previously unpublished photographs is wonderful and I can relate to just about all of it. Looking back, I have slept at most UK tracks in various vans, but it was only overnight and we were back home the next day.” – Chris Briston, Franklin, Michigan, USA

“I read this book with so much pleasure. You’ve written a real monument for the Australian two-wheeled heroes of the road.” – Otto Kuipers, The Netherlands

“Very delighted with the book. An excellent volume that will give hours of pleasure!” – David Goode, Northern Ireland

“It’s a profound understatement to say this is an impressive piece of work. We should all be indebted to Don for putting together such a detailed account of the time.” – Peter Jones, former Australian international, in Motorcycle Trader

“This is not a large, printed picture book with little substance – it’s an epic work of 479 pages and it weights three kilograms! The production quality is impressive and it seems a shame to hide the beautiful, blue, hard cover with gold lettering behind a slip cover.” – Peter Jones again

“This is a stunning publication and the research you have put into it…I’ve not seen its like previously.” – Barry Sewell, motorcycle racing historian, Northern Ireland

“A very beautiful thing. It’s a proper work of diligent research; less common in bikes than in cars.” – Mat Oxley, motorcycle journalist and author, London

“Respected writer and historian Don Cox has done a stunning job delving into the past to pull together some wonderful tales and photographs of the pioneering Aussie bike heroes of the 1950s and ’60s. The result is a high quality 480-page large-format book called Circus Life…The stories through Cox’s eye are told warmly and, I’ll bet, accurately. After being rejected by two publishers, Cox decided to take the gamble to self-publish. We should be glad he did. The book is must-have read of a fascinating and telling era in motorcycle racing. – Peter McKay, The Sun-Herald, Sydney

“…a beautifully-produced book by Sydney historian Don Cox…Many of the Aussie riders raced with a kangaroo painted on their helmets, and their camaraderie, their sheer love of racing, must appeal to four-wheel enthusiasts. This massive book – 480 pages, 330mm x 250mm – is great history, full of anecdotes and character insights and supported with excellent photographs.” – the late Graham Howard, historic racing columnist for Auto Action

“It goes straight to the top of my list of best motor sports books I’ve ever read. In fact, it’s in my all-time top five. A must for any serious sports fan. ” – Craig Norenbergs, ABC Grandstand Manager

“This new book is a masterpiece. Motorcycle history came to life again. I am delighted and very happy to read the story from St Wendel. To see my photo in a book next to my hero Tom Phillis is an honour to me.” – Bernd Bouillon, schoolboy race fan in St Wendel and former German-language commentator at the Isle of Man TT

“A voluminous book. What a wonderful piece of work! Thank you so much and congratulation for this compendium. So many details of living and racing of the Australian “Cowboys”, so many unforgettable stories, so a genius structure of the whole volume! The friends of St Wendel will be delighted when they see what a prominent role their event plays in your book.” – Dr Manfred Amelang, Heidelberg University

“This is without doubt the best motorcycle book ever, and I have a lot of them.” – Kel Carruthers, Australia’s 1969 world champion

“Congratulations on eight years of hard work. I’m absolutely gobsmacked.” – Daryl Beattie, TEN expert commentator and three-times 500 Grand Prix winner

“Well, this comes close to the best motorcycle racing book I’ve ever bought: a real treat! With 480 large pages, there’s quantity as well as quality as author Cox weaves together a fascinating story… Don Cox’s text makes fascinating reading… There are hundreds of action pics and paddock scenes that really bring the book and its characters to life. Brilliant!” – Mark Holman, Bike Rider Magazine April 2014
› See Mark’s full review

Interview with Jay Leno