Back in September, Sam Drayson Le Tissier and I got to take a very special trip to Austria. We had been invited by the lovely people at Triumph to witness for ourselves a recreation of one of the greatest moments in movie history as Guy Martin attempts to jump not one but both fences made famous by the legendary Steve McQueen in The Great Escape.
The production team were very lucky to find the actual location where the jump took place as well as partnering with Motorcycle collection Dick Shepherd who found and restored the original Triumph motorbike that was used in the 1963 movie.
During our trip we were lucky enough to meet John Leyton who starred in The Great Escape as Willie ‘Tunnel King’. Now 84, he still remembers shooting the movie like it was yesterday. We had a wonderful sit down chat with him which you can see below. He recounted how after filming was done, he was taught by Steve McQueen himself how to ride a motorbike and even completed the jump over the smaller of the two fences. It was a huge privilege to chat with him about his amazing memories of the movie and what it was like to return to the iconic location that he spent 6 months filming.
We also got to have a chat with Guy Martin before he attempted the jump. He was obviously nervous but excited to get going with the jump wearing the colours matching that if Steve McQueen.
We had the most amazing day in Austria. Thanks so much to Triumph for inviting us along, to North West One for putting together such an iconic event.
Tune in to Guy Martin’s Great Escape on Channel 4 Sunday 8th Dec at 9pm.