Great Escape Triumph in Blenheim Palace concours

A MOTORCYCLE ridden by silver screen icon Steve McQueen in The Great Escape will star at the Chubb Insurance Concours d’Elegance at Salon Prive at the end of August.

Now on display at the Triumph Factory Visitor Experience at Hinckley, the 1962 650cc TR6R had not been shown publicly since the film classic was made in 1963, and it will be vying for honours with other notable motorcycles at Blenheim Palace, where three classes will be judged.

An amateur racer on two and four wheels, McQueen is said to have asked the film’s director, John Sturges, to let him perform the famous stunt that saw his character Virgil Hilts attempt to flee his pursuers by jumping across barricades and barbed wire from Germany into neutral Switzerland, but the film’s insurers wouldn’t allow it and the task fell to McQueen’s friend and sometimes team-mate Bud Ekins.

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Complete with its Wehrmacht number plates as seen in the film The Great Escape, this is the specially-modified Triumph TR6R that will be vying for honours in the Chubb Insurance Concours d’Elegance on August 30.

As Second World War-era machines would not have been up to the task, several TR6Rs were aged to look the part, and the stunt became legendary.

At Blenheim Palace, the Triumph will be entered in Class B, for exceptional motorbikes 1940-1979, and judged on Thursday, August 30 before the machine goes on general display the next day.

The other two classes in the Chubb Insurance Concours will be Class A (exceptional motorbikes 1900-1939) and Class C (exceptional competition motorcycles).

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