1000 MIGLIA: L’AFFASCINANTE ALFONSO DE PORTAGO di Alessandra Boldrini

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Un personaggio della 1000Miglia conosciuto quasi esclusivamente per il tragico incidente avvenuto nel 1957 fu Alfonso de Portago. Chi era in realtà questo personaggio? 

Era costume negli anni 50 seguire le gare di velocità su strada con la folla accalcata ai bordi della pista per poter avere una migliore visibilità e per essere più vicini spiritualmente ai propri idoli: i campioni automobilistici di quei tempi. In quel periodo le gare di velocità su strada erano di uso assolutamente comune, in effetti di autodromi non ne esistevano tanti quindi le case automobilistiche si adoperavano per far correre i propri campioni anche su strada sia per quanto riguarda l’automobilismo che il motociclismo (in genere il campione automobilistico degli anni 50 gareggiava anche in competizioni motociclistiche). Le gare su strada erano appuntamenti molto attesi, un po’ come succede per gli odierni eventi, ed erano seguiti da una nutrita folla accalcata un po’ come accade oggi per la 1000Miglia ai bordi delle strade. In questo periodo però ci si accorse che le gare su strada soprattutto quelle motociclistiche,  iniziavano a presentare parecchi pericoli, soprattutto per gli spettatori, grandi e piccini, uomini e donne che come era costume per la 1000Miglia e per altre famose competizioni su strada, facevano da muro ai lati della pista, sprovvista di protezioni particolari, quindi gli spettatori risultavano per forza di cose molto esposti al pericolo, considerando fra l’altro che in quegli anni le automobili da corsa già potevano superare tranquillamente i 200 Km orari. Quel 12 maggio il podio della vittoria vide Piero Taruffi  vincitore della 1000Miglia 1957 tuttavia l’appuntamento di quell’anno con la celebre gara cambiò il corso della storia per quanto riguarda le competizioni su strada: la Ferrari 335 numero 532 condotta dal pilota Alfonso de Portago, accompagnato dal copilota nordamericano  Gurner Nelson percorrendo molto velocemente il famoso rettilineo situato fra Cerlongo e Guidizzolo, sulla strada Mantova – Brescia (considerato che l’equipaggio era molto ben posizionato e si impegnava al massimo per vincere la gara), subì uno sbandamento per lo scoppio di uno pneumatico provocando l’ uscita di strada della vetture in piena corsa che finì in un fosso sul lato destro della strada e per la velocità rimbalzò sul lato opposto schiantandosi rovinosamente sul ciglio della strada provocando di conseguenza la morte dell’equipaggio e di nove spettatori fra cui cinque bambini oltre che numerosi feriti che seguivano la competizione nel punto nel quale oggi è dedicato un monumento a ricordo delle vittime. In quel punto della Mantova Brescia a pochi chilometri dall’arrivo, sorgeva l’ultima porzione di gara che portava velocemente al traguardo, quindi in  genere i piloti spingevano i loro “bolidi” al massimo della performance superando anche i 250 Km orari, d’altronde se non si spinge su un rettilineo poi si rischia di perdere il vantaggio….. La tragedia di De Portago fu l’ago della bilancia che decretò limitazione delle  gare motociclistiche ed automobilistiche di velocità su strada in tutta la nazione italiana. La Milano Taranto che avrebbe dovuto essere combattuta dopo dieci giorni ne subì le conseguenze e venne annullata. Sorte differente toccò al circuito del GP di Pescara che si disputò nel 1957 , in questo caso la gara venne mantenuto perché parte del calendario gare internazionali di Formula uno. La 1000Miglia subì un fermo per parecchi anni per poi venire ripresa nella modalità  gara di regolarità. Chi era l’affascinante Alfonso de Portago? Il pilota fu un corridore automobilistico spagnolo di categoria Formula uno appartenente alle scuderie del cavallino rampante: Ferrari. Il nome per esteso fu Alfonso Antonio Vicente Eduardo Ángel Blas Francisco de Borja Cabeza de Vaca y Leighton, marchese di Portago nato nel 1928 in Inghilterra, fu famoso come pilota delle allora Formula uno ma anche come  pilota di bob. De Portago nacque da una famiglia aristocratica spagnola e da madre irlandese, trascorse l’ infanzia in Francia dove si impegnò profondamente in vari sport. Nel 1953 incontrò l’importatore americano della Ferrari che lo fece gareggiare come proprio co-pilota nella Carrera Panamericana, uno degli importantissimi circuiti internazionali di quei tempi, il gradino successivo fu correre, sempre su Ferrari, con una propria Ferrari Sport nella Buenos Aires 1000 nell’anno 1954, successivamente si trasferì in Europa dove iniziò ad utilizzare il marchio del tridente: Maserati. Il 1955 fu un anno epico per De Portago che acquistò una Formula uno che finì distrutta a Silverstone per un’ incidente all’International Tropy. Quell’anno il pilota subì solamente la rottura di una gamba tornando a calcare le piste nel 1956 quando divenne pilota ufficiale del cavallino rampante ottenendo un secondo posto al GP d’ Inghilterra condiviso con l’ inglese Peter Collins. Il campione partecipò alle Olimpiadi invernali di Cortina d’Ampezzo nel 1956 dove gareggiò con il bob, evidentemente de Portago era amante dell’adrenalina e della velocità in tutti i sensi dato che l’anno successivo a Saint Moritz si aggiudicò la medaglia di bronzo nel bob a due. All ‘intrepido campione venne dedicata nientemeno che una curva prima del traguardo della pista Olympia di Saint Moritz- Celerina. De Portago non ebbe certamente problemi di soldi essendo ricco di famiglia quindi amava spostarsi privo di bagagli ma accompagnato solamente da una piccola borsa contenente il necessario per la corsa quindi dove arrivava amava comprare tutto il necessario.

Era sposato con una ragazza americana che gli dette due figli ma a lui si attribuiscono una serie di flirt (veri o presunti dato il personaggio leggendario) che gli fecero conquistare la fama di Playboy. Una nota love story fu con l’ attrice americana Linda Christian ex moglie del divo di Hollywood Tyrone Power ed in seguito con la modella Dorian Leigh dalla quale ebbe un figlio. Non si può definire de Portago un semplice donnaiolo, piuttosto un’affascinante personaggio, colto,indubbiamente affascinante, aristocratico, intelligente e profondo, parlava fluentemente sei lingue, pilota intrepido e coraggioso, tutte particolarità che affascinano il gentil sesso, nonostante tutto possedeva un forte sentimento religioso. Come tutti gli spagnoli fu molto superstizioso e molti amici a posteriori il fatale incidente asseriscono che il pilota presentisse la sua morte imminente. Il fatidico 1957 doveva essere l’anno della suo trionfo, della sua entrata a pieno titolo nel mondo dei Big della corse, con due grandi prestazioni a Cuba, dove sul circuito era riuscito nientemeno che a dominare il grande Fangio prima di un guasto al motore della propria vettura ed in Argentina gareggiando con le Ferrari sportcar ottenne ottimi risultati. Al GP di Monaco di quell’ anno si sentiva fortissimo ed ebbe anche su quel circuito risultati ottimali. Possiamo dire che il pilota non amasse particolarmente il concetto della corsa di velocità su strada da lui giudicata inutilmente pericolosa, per questo il pilota prediligeva le competizioni  su circuito automobilistico. A quella fatale 1000Miglia non avrebbe dovuto partecipare, tuttavia l’amaro destino volle che una malattia a Luigi Musso gli liberasse un posto e quell’ anno combattè (devo dire con grande maestria e ben posizionato) la sua ultima competizione su una potente Ferrari 335 – S  4 litri che partì da Brescia alle 5,31 della domenica del 12 maggio 1957 ma non arrivò mai al traguardo.

 

Author: admin

Nicola Migliorini alias ADMIN è Direttore del blog WWW.MONDOOGGI.COM decide cosa e quando pubblicare, è un giornalista con incarico a 360 gradi

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