'Great Escape' motorcycle auctions at Bonhams to aid Help for Heroes

A unique motorcycle created for the 2011 Great Escape 2 - a charity motorcycle ride across Europe to commemorate the 50 RAF officers who met their demise after the so-called 'Great Escape' from the German prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft III in March 1944 - is to be sold in Bonhams.

The bike will appear in an auction of Collectors' Motorcars and Motorcycles on Thursday 1 December at Mercedes Benz World, Weybridge, Surrey, UK.

The 2011 Triumph Bonneville T100 'Great Escape' on offer is a modern version of the one ridden by Steve McQueen in epic 1963 film The Great Escape which immortalised the heroic exploits of these prisoners of war and starred Richard Attenborough, James Garner and McQueen. 

It is being sold with the registration 'WW11 POW' and is estimated to fetch £9,000-12,000.

The 'Great Escape 2' charity ride was held in June 2011.

The 3,200-mile journey took in 12 European countries and visited sites associated with 'The Great Escape' including the town of Füssen in Bavaria where McQueen's famous 'wire jump' was filmed, though the stunt itself was actually performed by Steve's great friend, Bud Ekins.

'WW11 POW' was taken to easily recognisable settings and photographed in poses similar to those of Steve on the bike during the making of the film.

It has been photographed in many other historical locations, appeared on television and been featured in many magazines and national media publications.

Although not historically accurate, the scene of the 'wire jump' is known the world over and Steve's 1962 Triumph TR6 Trophy has been seen on posters and T-shirts and been viewed by millions on film and television.

So a decision was made to create a modern version of the McQueen bike to accompany six other classic Triumphs from the factory's current range on a tour to raise money for The Royal British Legion and 'Help for Heroes'.

The motorcycle at the famous jump site from the film The Great Escape
The motorcycle at the famous jump site from the film The Great Escape

The motorcycle itself is a 2011 Triumph T100, which has been modified to incorporate Hagon shock absorbers, wider handlebars, concealed indicators, modified mudguards, military drab paintwork, solo seat and Triumph performance exhaust pipes, which give a wonderful sound.

It has now covered 5,000 miles, has been fully serviced, is in excellent condition and still under the manufacturer's warranty.

The machine will be supplied with a comprehensive photographic record of the 'Great Escape 2' event and is sold with its most appropriate 'WW11 POW' registration, current road fund licence and Swansea V5C document. All sale proceeds will go to Armed Services charities.

"It is a pleasure to be offering this machine on behalf of such worthy causes," said James Stensel, Motorcycle Specialist at Bonhams.

"The team at GE2 have put in so much effort in to reach the culmination of this project and we ask bidders to bid generously."


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