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GUY MARTIN’S GREAT ESCAPE

Guy Martin attempting the great escape jump over high fences

 


 

Guy Martin sets out to recreate the iconic motorcycle movie stunt at the climax of The Great Escape riding a custom Triumph Scrambler 1200.  But unlike Steve McQueen's film character, he’s aiming to go higher and further to successfully clear both fences in one attempt. 

Did he make it?  Watch Guy Martin’s Great Escape on Channel 4, Sunday 8th December at 9pm to find out. 

PLUS, read on to find out how you could meet one of the stars of the Great Escape movie in person at Triumph’s Factory Visitor Experience!

 

 

Guy Martin sat on the Custom Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE

 

 

Released in 1963 with an all-star cast that included Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough and John Leyton, The Great Escape was one of the highest-grossing films of that year and is still one of Hollywood’s most celebrated films.

The movie was based on the true story of the most audacious mass breakout from a German POW camp in World War Two, which saw 76 imprisoned Allied airmen escape the prison camp through a tunnel, and culminated in the lead character making the most memorable motorcycle jump in cinema history.

 

 

 

Guy Martin standing proudly in the country side landscape

A custom Triumph Scrambler 1200, four years of planning, and hundreds of practice jumps. Will he make it...?

The Great Escape featuring Triumph TR6 and the custom Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE

 

 

 

The Great Escape’s headline star – Hollywood idol Steve McQueen – insisted that the storyline for his character Captain Virgil Hilts be re-written on location to include a bike chase with what was then the leading modern Triumph scrambler and a thrilling jump: an attempt to clear the national border fence while being pursued by German soldiers as part of the film’s gripping finale.

A motorcycle obsessive, McQueen’s bike of choice was a contemporary 650cc Triumph TR6, similar to the bike he famously rode while desert racing in western America.  McQueen was forbidden from performing the stunt by the movie’s insurers, so his good friend Bud Ekins made the jump.

The result was one of the most recognisable and iconic motorcycle stunts ever seen on film.  But, of course, in the film Hilts only manages to clear the first of two barbed wire fences before being recaptured and so the big question posed by movie lovers for almost 60 years has been... “is it possible to jump both fences”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four years in the planning, this compelling new programme has almost become an obsession for Guy Martin; one of television’s most dynamic, unique and popular characters, who put in hours of work and made hundreds of practice jumps in preparation for this attempt.

For maximum authenticity Guy wanted to recreate The Great Escape jump using a Triumph motorcycle in the exact same field that the original jump was filmed and, after months of careful negotiation, the owner of that field, Josef Kern, finally agreed.

This is how Guy found himself attempting to recreate movie history on a grassy field near Füssen right on the Germany/Austrian border on a custom-built Triumph motorcycle.  Ahead of him: two imposing 8-foot high fences.

 

 

 

 

The Great escape riding with Guy Martin

Careful preparation for such a dangerous stunt was essential.  Guy consulted Triumph’s special vehicle workshop in Hinckley and worked closely with Triumph chief engineer Stuart Wood to build together two Scrambler 1200 XE motorcycles, each customised with dedicated suspension and unique contemporary green and gold paint scheme by Guy himself; one to jump, and one as a back-up. 

While the Scrambler 1200 XE is Triumph’s top-of-the-range category-leading off-road motorcycle, modifications were still required to make it suitable for this jump sequence; including the practical removal of road components, simplification of electronics and uprated suspension and tyres.

A one-off modern Triumph scrambler green paint scheme was selected as a contemporary twist on the British army green paintwork of the original 1963 Triumph TR6 bike ridden by Steve McQueen, and was finished with hand painted gold coach lining.

A static shot of The Custom Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE in a scenic landscape
Guy Martin posing with a custom Triumph Scrambler 1200

Supported by Triumph Motorcycles and North One Television, Guy Martin returned to the same Bavarian field in which Bud Ekins performed the most famous motorcycle jump in movie history with an even more ambitious goal.

Guy wanted to succeed where McQueen’s character, Captain Virgil Hilts, ultimately failed. While Hilts only cleared the first fence along the border between Germany and freedom in Switzerland, Guy will attempt to clear both fences... and this is a much bigger and hugely more challenging jump.

The fences are in position.  His unique custom-built Triumph 1200 XE Scrambler is stripped-back for action, custom-painted and pinstriped by Guy’s own hand.  And Guy has trained for this moment for nearly four years.  So how did he do?

All is revealed on Channel 4’s “Guy Martin’s Great Escape”

Don’t miss the incredible re-creation of this spectacular jump on Sunday 8th December.

DISCOVER MORE

VISITOR EXPERIENCE EVENT

In celebration of Guy Martin’s Great Escape TV programme, this is a never-to-be-repeated opportunity to join us for a very special event at Triumph’s Factory Visitor Experience in Hinckley on Thursday 30th January 2020.

Scenic shot of Guy Martin during The Great Escape

SEE THE PROGRAMME

You’ll be seated near to the restored Triumph TR6 that Bud Ekins used in The Great Escape for the original jump, while we screen Guy Martin’s Great Escape and reveal the custom-built Scrambler 1200 XE that appears in the programme. Tickets for this event are strictly limited, so book now.

John Leyton sitting on the Triumph TR6 model with a scenic landscape

MEET A STAR OF THE FILM

You’ll also meet our special guest John Leyton who was the actor who played Willie “Tunnel King” Dickes in The Great Escape, as he shares personal memories and behind-the-scenes anecdotes about his first-hand experiences of acting with Hollywood greats such as Steve McQueen.

Book now to join us on Thursday 30th January 2020 for an exclusive screening of Guy Martin’s Great Escape, along with special guest John Leyton.

TICKETS