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Ekins helped Mc Queen learn the ropes, and before long Mc Queen began competing in off-road events around Southern California.
Later, his contracts with movie studios prohibited him from racing motorcycles.
He got around that technicality by racing under the pseudonym of Harvey Mushman.
He had a troubled youth and for a time was raised by a great uncle on a farm in Missouri.Mc Queen also supported a team of off-road riders that included himself and Bud and Dave Ekins, who competed in the 1964 International Six Day Trial in Germany.Mc Queen’s unabashed enthusiasm for motorcycling did wonders for the image of the sport during a time when the general public often looked at motorcyclists with disdain.Mc Queen joined the Marines and early on spent a good amount of time in the brig for various offenses.He later redeemed himself by diving in and helping rescue five servicemen who had fallen into the frigid Arctic Sea after their ship hit a sand bar.
It was during this time that he took up motorcycling. In a 1971 interview in Sports Illustrated, Mc Queen recalls that he was smitten by motorcycling from the start.