by Ed McDonough
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There have been very few sportsmen in any area of endeavour who embodied the charisma and panache of Marquis Alfonso de Portago. For the fans and participants of motor sport, he arrived virtually overnight, and was suddenly on the world stage of racing. As soon as his racing exploits started to grab the attention of the press and public, his achievements in equestrianism became part of the growing legend. Then he decided to enter a Spanish national team in the bobsled events at the 1956 Winter Olympics and the Spanish novices nearly won. Portago was now a world class bobsledder.
Portago became a member of the elite Scuderia Ferrari after very few races. He was acknowledged as one of the best of the sports car racers of the time. Grand Prix success didn’t seem very far beyond him either and several of his contemporaries said he was certainly World Champion material. In May 1957, at the age of 28, he started the world’s toughest road race, the Italian Mille Miglia. The race ended in a terrible crash which took the life of Portago, his co-driver and many spectators. This crash helped to end road racing altogether. In the following years, the legend grew and became mythical.
Ed McDonough has probed deeply into the life and times of the Marquis De Portago, met with his widow and other family members and some of his colleagues. 'Marquis De Portago: The Legend' is a fully researched biography of a man and an era that are long gone but never forgotten.
Colour & b/w illustrations.
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