McQueen was an avid motorcycle and race car enthusiast. When he had the opportunity to drive in a movie, he performed many of his own stunts, including some of the car chase in Bullitt and the motorcycle chase in The Great Escape. Although the jump over the fence in The Great Escape was done by Bud Ekins for insurance purposes, McQueen did have considerable screen time riding his 650cc Triumph TR6 Trophy motorcycle. It was difficult to find riders as skilled as McQueen.At one point, using editing, McQueen is seen in a German uniform chasing himself on another bike. Around half of the driving in Bullitt was performed by Loren Janes.
McQueen competed in off-road motorcycle racing, frequently running a BSA Hornet.He was also set to co-drive in a Triumph 2500 PIfor the British Leyland team in the 1970 London-Mexico rally, but had to turn it down due to movie commitments.His first off-road motorcycle was a Triumph 500 cc, purchased from Ekins. McQueen raced in many top off-road races on the West Coast, including the Baja 1000, the Mint 400, and theElsinore Grand Prix.
In 1964, McQueen and Ekins were part of a four-rider (plus one reserve) first-ever official US team-entry into the Silver Vase category of the International Six Days Trial,an Enduro-type off-road motorcycling event held that year in Erfurt, East Germany.The 'A' team arrived in England in late August to collect their mix of 649 cc and 490 cc twins from theTriumph factory before modifying them for off-road use.Initially let down with transport arrangements by a long-established English motorcycle dealer,Triumph dealer H&L Motors stepped-in to provide a suitable vehicle.On arrival in Germany, the team, with their English temporary manager, were surprised to find a Vase 'B' team, comprisingexpat Americans living in Europe, had entered themselves privately to ride European-sourced machinery.