When Steve McQueen road
his motorbike across the fields in The Great Escape he won the hearts and
minds of millions of people. Now,
40 years on, the actor has been given possibly the greatest honour that any
bike rider could wish for - he has been crowned the most iconic biker of all
McQueen, who died in
1980, received a massive 25 per cent of the vote, which was carried out by the
MCN London Motorcycle Show in conjunction with Yahoo Cars. The
actor beat off competition from other legends such as double grand prix world
champion Barry Sheene (21 per cent) and seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino
Rossi (also 21 per cent).
Fourth place in the list
went to Evel Knievel, who was followed by the Isle of Man's greatest rider
Joey Dunlop. Marlon
Brando ranked seventh, while Tom Cruise and Ewan McGregor, both well-known
bike fans, were voted ninth and tenth respectively
Hollywood legend Steve McQueen has been voted the most iconic biker of all
time, according to a MCN London Motorcycle Show survey in conjunction with
The 1960s all-action film star took one in every four of the 2254 votes
registered on yahoo.co.uk. McQueen, who died of lung cancer in 1980, saw off a
list of motorcycle racing legends, actors and stunt riders in the New Year poll.
In second place was double grand prix world champion and 70s sex symbol, Barry
Sheene, closely followed by seven-time MotoGP champion, Valentino Rossi.
Daredevil, Evel Knieval, famous for his spectacular bone-breaking crashes was
ranked fourth while Marlon Brando, star of one of the quintessential biking
films, The Wild Ones, managed seventh.
Languishing at the back of the table, scoring only 2 per cent of the votes each,
were Mission Impossible actor Tom Cruise and Long Way Round star Ewan McGregor.
Both are well known for their love of riding motorcycles, on and off screen.
As well as being a successful racer, McQueen preferred to do many of his own
film stunts. His most notorious motorcycle moment came from a sequence in the
film The Great Escape where, as a prisoner of war, his character’s escape was
foiled by one last jump over a barbed wire fence. The BBC recently mimicked this
stunt as part of its Christmas schedule.
The survey is a revealing insight to the biker’s mind. Despite numerous
celebrities currently riding motorcycles, a 44-year-old image of McQueen sat on
a Triumph is instantly recognisable by many generations, rivalling that of The
Beatles on the Abbey Road zebra crossing.
Bike fans should head to the MCN London Motorcycle Show at ExCeL on February 1-4
2007 to see breath-taking stunt action, the very latest new motorcycles, new
product launches, hundreds of bike accessories along with a chance to meet
celebrity riders and, of course, the MCN babes.