The Mille Miglia shot is from the Raticosa or Futa pass; the Marquis’ wreck was on one of the long flat tree-lined sections heading back to Brescia.
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.
He and his co-driver Edmund Nelson were killed in a crash (on May 12) in the 1957 Mille Miglia about forty miles (68 km) from Brescia , the starting and finishing point of the 1,000 mile (1609 km) race. They were in third place at the time. The accident also claimed the lives of ten spectators, among them five children. Portago blew a tire on his Ferrari, causing the car to go into the crowd lining the highway. He was travelling at 150 mph (241 km/h) when the tire went flat. The Ferrari hurtled over a canal on the left side of the road, killing five spectators, then veered back across the canal, and caused the deaths of five other onlookers on the right side of the road. Two of the dead children were hit by a concrete highway milestone that was ripped from the ground by Portago's car and thrown into the crowd. The bodies of Portago and Nelson were badly disfigured beneath the Ferrari, which was upside down. Portago's body was in two sections.This resulted in a long trial for Ferrari team owner Enzo Ferrari .
As T.C. Browne wrote: The inevitable happened when Alfonso [...] de Portago stopped alongside the course, ran to the fence, kissed Linda Christian, ran back to his Ferrari and drove on to his destiny, killing himself, his co-driver, 10 spectators, and the Mille Miglia.