tragic ending of Cuba´s international race

a tragic endingThe events of the past also have their place in our times because they are full of fascinating, surprising and fateful stories as the case of this photograph that marked the end of a race captured several years ago by photojournalist José Agraz Solans.

According to sources, the image was captured on February 24, 1958 during the II Grand Prix in Cuba. This competition was considered the most important in South America with the participation of 23 drivers including Roy Ruttiman, United States, 500 km champion in Indianapolis; Stirling Moss and Phil Hill, England; Germany Von Tripps, French Jan Behra, Spanish Francisco Goddio, the Venezuelan Piero Drogo and the world famous Porfirio Rubirosa, from Dominican Republic.

The race was concerted 500 kilometers and was performed along the Havana seafront in the section from the Presidents Avenue to the Maceo Park. Each round was 5 miles and riders had to complete one hundred laps to reach the goal.

In the sixth round, photojournalist Agraz, conveniently located opposite the American Embassy´s esplanade, triggered the shutter of his camera to capture Stirling Moss’s car leading the race and followed by other cars. A little behind was the Ferrari marked with number 54, drove by the Cuban Alberto Garcia Cifuentes, made a strange turn and hit the crowd that witnessed the race. Agraz captured the shocking scene where bodies, heads, limbs blew through the air. The accident caused six dead and over 30 wounded, including Cifuentes himself. The race was stopped immediately.

The photo was published in the most important international newspapers and magazines and Agraz won the Mergenthaler Prize of the Press Inter American Association, the first award recieved by a Cuban journalist.

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