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Guy Martin attempts Great Escape jump

Guy Martin practises Great Escape jump

Former TT racer and all-round larrikin daredevil Guy Martin will attempt the failed Steve McQueen jump from the 1963 film, The Great Escape.

He’s even had his trademark unkempt hair cut to look like McQueen!

His attempt will be aired on the UK’s Channel 4 at 9pm next Sunday (8 December 2019).

He won’t be doing it on a Triumph TR6 like in the original movie stunt, but on a new Triumph Scrambler 1200.

Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE jump
MBW Practises his own escape!

Jump mystery

The movie stunt, which is one of the most famous in movie history, remains a bit of a mystery.

We know it was not done by McQueen – not because he couldn’t do it, but because the filmmaker’s insurance company wouldn’t let him.

Many believe it was done by his friend and bike fettler Bud Ekins who died earlier this year and has been honoured with special edition T100 and T120 models.

However, there remains some doubt.

Several endurance riders who were competing nearby at the European motocross championship were invited by McQueen to visit the filming.

Tim Gibbes The Great Escape Triumph TR6 Steve McQueen
Tim Gibbes

They included Australian Tim Gibbes and another unnamed Aussie rider who had a go while the cameras were rolling, so it is not clear which take was used.

Some home movies of the filming shot by Tim have recently been unearthed.

Guy’s jump

Guy will jump a reconstructed Nazi wire fence to simulate the leap to freedom in Switzerland.

In the film, McQueen jumps the first 5ft (152cm) fence, but fails to clear the 8ft fence (244cm).

Steve McQueen in The Great Escape
Steve McQueen in The Great Escape

That’s why Guy has chosen the much more powerful and better suspended Scrambler.

Even the stock suspension has been bolstered for the attempt.

Obviously most modern MX bikes could easily do the jump, but after all, this is showbiz!

And Triumph has done its best to exploit this particular moment in cinematic moment for many years.