Bikers can get up close and personal with the Triumph TR6 used in one of film’s most celebrated motorcycle stunt scenes.
The motorcycle used in the film was in fact a post war 1961 Triumph TR6 Trophy disguised as a German BMW R75 motorcycle.
Film is based on real mass POW camp breakout
Despite that, The Great Escape is based on a real mass World War II POW camp break-out.
Based on the book of the same name, it was a first-hand account of the escape from Stalag Luft III in Sagan (now Żagań, Poland).
Stalag Luft III was built and billed as the camp that no one could escape from and imprisoned there were the most notorious escapees from British and American armed forces.
Ultimately 76 prisoners escape but only three made it to freedom. The rest were recaptured, 11 returned to Stalag Luft III and the remainder killed.
The famous Triumph TR6 motorcycle stunt comes when escapee Steve McQueen, who plays USAAF Captain Virgil Hilts, is being chased by columns of German soldiers.
After a number of close shaves McQueen reached the Swiss border but was confronted by a series of barbed wire fences, with the Germans still in hot pursuit.
The Triumph TR6 stunt “famed but failed”
He manages to jump the first fence but comes to grief on the second, higher one, after the Triumph is shot at and damaged. Despite the ultimately failed motorcycle stunt the moment is writ large in film legend.
McQueen did much of the riding for the film himself although Bud Ekins performed the famous motorcycle stunt scene.
Some years later McQueen raced a Triumph TR6 at a number of events in the United States.
If you think you could have made the jump and fancy yourself as a bit of a motorcycle trickster find out how to become a motorcycle stunt rider.
McQueen’s triumph on the Triumph TR6 isn’t the only motorcycle that plays a starring role on the big screen. Check out Bikesure’s guide to the greatest motorcycle movies ever.
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