In December 2019, speed freak-turned TV host Guy Martin tackled a new challenge. This time, he wasn’t trying to go fast: he wanted to jump high. In Guy Martin’s Great Escape, the famous British racer decided to reproduce the famous jump from the equally famous Steve McQueen movie, The Great Escape.
This documentary takes us behind the scenes to set the mood and show us just how much preparation was required, even for a guy with as much experience in the saddle as Martin. Part of that preparation included taking the original Triumph out for a little spin. If you didn’t already envy the guy for all his accomplishments, now you do.
The jump required a lot of preparation, both from a technical and from a skills aspect. For Martin, it meant honing his freestyle skills in the saddle of a dirt bike. While he has plenty of track and road racing experience, jumping bikes wasn’t part of his resume—at least not at the time. To make sure the stunt was performed properly (and safely of course), Martin hit the trails with British Supercross champion Carl Nunn as his coach to learn to get some air time on a bike.
A documentary about how Guy Martin reproduced the most famous motorcycle movie stunt in history wouldn’t be complete without discussing what made the original stunt so special, including taking a closer look at the very bike that jumped the fence. Martin headed to the Triumph HQ in Hinckley, England, where he talked with collector Dick Sheppard about the crown jewel of his collection: the Triumph TR6 Trophy masquerading as a Nazi Germany BMW.
The highlight of the clip is definitely when they roll the TR6 out to the parking lot where Martin gets to take it for a short ride—not after a bit of a struggle to get it to run. The smile on Martin’s face once he gets the engine running speaks volumes. According to the clip’s narrator, the bike is valued at £1.5 million, just in case riding on a museum piece wasn’t pressure.
Ultimately, Martin performed the stunt on a modern-day Triumph—a specially-prepared Scrambler 1200, dressed in the same blue sweater and beige kakis McQueen wore in the scene.