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De Portago's final moments

I discovered this image on the web and found it rather poignant. This is one of the last photos taken of Alfonso De Portago in his Ferrari at the 1957 Mille Miglia.  Not long after this photo was taken, a sudden tire deflation caused him to lose control of his car resulting in one of the worst racing accidents in history. Portago and his co-driver Edmund Nelson were both killed in a gruesome fashion, along with 10 spectators, including 5 children.  It was a dark day in Italian motor racing history, and ultimately led to the banning of the Mille Miglia race.

I am fascinated by this photograph because it is eerily quiet despite all the people and activity in the image. The naive madness of this type of road racing is made so clear in this photograph. The impending tragedy is almost palpable.  I particularly love the photographer crouching right on the edge of the wall, flirting with disaster.

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Reader Comments (4)

Agreed. It's a wonderful photograph. Thanks.

August 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAuntie Loch-Braiques

Very interesting indeed!

August 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJess

baja 1000 had people leaning out 2 touch the car as it passed IN the old days & still. what a sweet CAR, w/o any roll containment or perhaps seat belts. THE heads completely exposed. GREAT image KUDOS

August 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkirk maillet

Sadly, a number of spectators were killed this weekend in a desert rally race. I guess humans never learn, huh.

August 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBradley Price

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