RELIVING THE GREAT ES­CAPE

Sign up to the Na­tional Mo­tor­cy­cle Mu­seum’s Friends scheme and you could book a ride on a new re­cre­ation of that world-fa­mous film bike

Classic Bike (UK) - - CONTENTS - RIGHT: Mc­queen on the Great Es­cape bike – the orig­i­nal is now at Tri­umph’s vis­i­tor cen­tre PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: TIM KEETON & GETTY IM­AGES

First proper look at the NMM’S replica of the film-star Tri­umph

The lat­est ma­chine to emerge from the Na­tional Mo­tor­cy­cle Mu­seum’s pro­lific restora­tion workshop is this replica of the Tri­umph twin used for that jump in the Steve Mc­queen film, The Great Es­cape. It’s pretty widely known that Mc­queen didn’t ac­tu­ally ride the bike for the jump se­quence – that was han­dled by Mc­queen’s rac­ing buddy, stunt­man Bud Ekins – but it’s still an un­de­ni­ably iconic scene from movie his­tory.

“So many peo­ple have seen the film,” says NMM di­rec­tor James Hew­ing, ex­plain­ing the ra­tio­nale be­hind build­ing a replica. “We’ve been asked count­less times whether the bike used in the film still ex­ists and, if so, where it is. The orig­i­nal is owned by Tri­umph col­lec­tor Dick Shep­herd and is ac­tu­ally on dis­play at Tri­umph’s vis­i­tor cen­tre at Hinckley.

“We de­cided to build an ac­cu­rate replica so that vis­i­tors to our mu­seum who are in­ter­ested in the bike can at least see ex­actly what it looks like.”

The NMM bike is based on a Tri­umph T110 with a mod­i­fied rear frame sec­tion, whereas the one used in the 1963 World War II film is a TR6, but the replica is so good it looks just like the orig­i­nal.

“The guys in our restora­tion workshop have been work­ing on it as time al­lows for the last three years,” says Hew­ing. “It was fin­ished just in time for our last Friends’ Try A Bike Clas­sic Day a few weeks back. If any­one fan­cies a ride on it, they can book one if they sign up to the Friends scheme. No jump­ing over fences, though.”

NMM restora­tion workshop has just fin­ished this Great Es­cape replica

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