Steve McQueen’s The Great Escape motorbike ‘guest of honour’ at The WonderWorks special function

The motorbike driven by Hollywood star Steve McQueen in the 1963 film The Great Escape Photo John Horton

Report and photos by John Horton

The motorbike driven by Hollywood star Steve McQueen in the 1963 film The Great Escape has been the ‘guest of honour’ at an official function at Hornby Hobbies’ The WonderWorks venue.

Dignitaries from all aspects of transport were in attendance at the Margate site and able to view the Triumph TR6 which was accompanied by Dick Shepherd and representatives of Triumph Motorcycles from Hinckley.

The motorbike was in situ at The WonderWorks for today (November 14) only but the venue also has a Triumph Bonneville T100 limited edition inspired by The Great Escape. This is number 3 of 1100 produced.

Photo John Horton

A model of the bike is due in the warehouse tomorrow and will be available to buy shortly.

Olly Raeburn, CEO, greeted everyone attending and said: “We actually opened to the public two weeks ago -Monday 30th October – and we opened the doors with about 20-30 people waiting to come in.

Photo John Horton

“Some of you may have been here previously when we hosted the Hornby Visitor Centre, for those of you who haven’t, let me assure you it is very different looking, much brighter, much more enthusiastic, much more engaging.

Models at The WonderWorks Photo John Horton

“What we are trying to do with this place is really bring these wonderful brands to life for a broader spectrum of customers, Hornby is over 100 years old, Airfix is 75 years old, these are really well established heritage brands, I certainly grew up with them, and it’s lovely to see them presented now in a way that is as relevant and as interesting to me as they were when I was a child.”

A Ferret Scout Army Vehicle also takes pride of place at the entrance to Wonderworks, its not a replica but the real thing, there are several still around and there are some in use currently in the Ukraine, albeit heavily modified.

Photo John Horton

The  “Triumph Scrambler” motorbike on display was used in “No time to Die” in the last James Bond film starring Daniel Craig. The event also included demonstrations of the new digital control system for model railways, details about the history of Airfix and an explanation of how the latest Turbomotive was made from initial design to completed model.

Master of Miniature Adam Photo John Horton

The first of two “Model Masters” Adam has also now started a new role at Hornby.

The WonderWorks plans to implement more attractions for younger children and small step stools have been brought in so they can see the layouts clearly. There is also a miniature Scalextric track for young ones to use at a suitably positioned table.

Gotham City display Photo John Horton

Future plans include workshop evenings, model exhibitions and forthcoming Christmas events, which will be going live on 24th November.

1 Comment

  1. I don’t know when hydraulic front suspension was invented, but I was given a 500cc BSA 1938 pattern bike with sprung front suspension in the army, in the early 60’s. They had a habit of catching fire because they had a poorly designed carburettor, that leaked petrol onto the engine! I parted company with mine in a German swamp, it may still be there!

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