Ferrari's sword-fighting "hippy" who sold himself short

Ferrari's sword-fighting

A multi-talented sportsman, the charismatic Alfonso de Portago shone in motor racing before an accident claimed his life. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers the life of 'The Man Who Could Do Everything'

The first thing to know about Alfonso de Portago is that at 17, for a $500 bet, he flew an aeroplane under a bridge.

A profile of de Portago, written in 1956, was entitled 'The Man Who Could Do Everything', and apparently he could. One of the leading amateur jockeys in Europe, twice he rode in the Grand National, and he was expert also in swordsmanship - in every sense, apparently - as well as boxing, tennis, skiing and bobsleighing.

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