The Great Escape October 03 2014

One of the best motorcycle stunts of all time, by the great Bud Ekins! Bud was a really close friend of ours, and the stories we got to hear about his time working on this film with his great friend Steve McQueen were priceless.
.
.

 

.
.
Bud and Steve were unimpressed by the some of the stunt riders hired for the film, so if you look closely, you can see that Steve is the solo rider chasing himself (Bud) towards the fence jump scene. The double 3s on the license plates were changed into 8s so the bikes "couldn't be told apart".
.

.
Discussing a scene. Just another day at the office for Bud and Steve...
.
.
Bud Ekins not only did the iconic jump, but there were several very impressive stunts by him when he executed the first crash; Steve tripped up his bike with a wire tied across the road, the sidecar crash, and the final slide into the barbed wire fence. No CG in this film!
.

.
Bud said the barbed wire was made of rubberized sting that the crew and even actors had to pitch-in and help tie into knots in their down-time.
.
.
Bud Ekins also built the jump bikes used in The Great Escape. Although the two bikes look identical, the "hero" bike that did jump had a 6-month only pie-crust front hub. The other bike had a stock full-width hub. (Info for the trainspotters.)
.
.
The Johnson Motors jump bike at the Bud Ekins Memorial
.
.
Bud's wife, Betty Ekins was on location the day of the jump, where she took a cine-film of the two friends during make-up before the scene. She filmed the transformation of Bud, a six-foot-four dark-haired man, into a five-foot-ten blonde. They did this with the use of masking tape around Bud's forehead, ears and neck- before using automotive paint in an aerosol can to spray his head gold. Makeup has come a long way...
.
.
Bud & Betty Ekins, and sometimes-freinds / sometimes-rivals Steve McQueen James Garner
.
.
One day the Ekins family may release this film of the guys laughing and behaving badly. Betty also managed to shoot the jump from another angle, that shows Bud coming towards the camera- and you can see how high he really jumps! Not an easy feat with only two inches of suspension and a combined bike and rider weight in excess of 600 lbs.
.
.
The Jump
.
.