The Thrill-Seeking Aristocrat

Alfonso Antonio Vicente Eduardo Angel Blas Francisco de Borja Cabeza de Vaca y Leighton, a Spanish aristocrat, is often portrayed as a playboy.

Better known as Alfonso De Portago or Fon, he was known for his charm, good looks, and adventurous lifestyle.

Born in London on October 11, 1928, his father was a Spanish diplomat and an Irish mother, a former nurse, Olga Leighton.

His godfather was Spanish king Alfonso XIII.

He was a multi-talented sportsman, excelling in all that he ventured; he won three French jockey titles and took part in the Grand National on two occasions.

He played polo, hunted, was a fine fencer, and even a bobsleigh driver. Back in 1955, Fon created the Spanish national bobsleigh team.

He won a $500 bet for flying a borrowed plane under London Bridge.

A passionate gambler, winning $2 million whilst in Monte Carlo.

Alfonso didn’t know the word fear, as he was as fearless as he could be.

He was fast in everything he could get himself into but hard on what he was driving.

He was a very successful driver for Ferrari; he was on the F1 podium with second place at the 1956 British Grand Prix.

Sadly, what he is most remembered for was his tragic accident at the 1957 Mille Miglia.

Having ignored a mechanic’s advice to replace a worn tyre less than 40 miles from the finish, the tyre exploded.

Fon and his navigator Edmund Nelson, ten spectators and five children lost their lives. Twenty more were injured.

This tragedy ended the Mille Miglia.

In the race of life, Alfonso de Portago never settled for anything less than pole position.