Every time we see the movie, we think, ‘This time, surely he'll make it,' as we urge on American airman Captain Virgil Hilts, aka Steve McQueen, in his final daredevil bid for freedom in The Great Escape, as he tries to leap to freedom after gunning his stolen motorcycle back and forth across the undulating hillsides as he hunts for a gap in the barbed wire border fence lying between him and Switzerland - away from the German soldiers closing in on all sides.

But, of course, it all ends in tears every time, as Virgil's heroic attempt to leap the fence ends in a painful crash, and a return to the very POW camp he'd already escaped from...

Two decades after his tragic early death from cancer in November 1980, at just 50 years old, the world's on-going fascination with McQueen lives on. As the iconic Hollywood biker whose movie exploits were matched by his all-round two-wheeled riding skills, especially off-road, the star of The Great Escape and the ultimate motorcycle movie, On Any Sunday, retains a special fascination for all bike enthusiasts. No matter the generation.

With Triumph motorcycles playing a key role in McQueen's life away from the film set, perhaps it's inevitable that Triumph Motorcycles...

For the complete story, see this week's Cycle News by clicking on the following link:

Alan Cathcart | European Editor

Cathcart has ridden practically every road racer and streetbike ever built and written about them in Cycle News. They don’t call him Sir Alan for nothing.

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