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The Chequered Flag

Last modified: 2005-09-02 by phil nelson
Keywords: chequered flag |
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[Formula 1 chequered flag] image by Phil Nelson

See also:

Reported Origin

I found this page on the origin of the chequered flag:

Whether the reference is correct I dont know.

Last week, I asked what was the origin of the chequered flag to signify the end of a motor race? The 'real' answer was given to me by one of my motoring mates, Vic Garra, as I had tried last year to get an answer and failed! According to Vic's research, the Americans claim the origin. I quote, "One flag which is widely used today is the checkered flag. This flag indicates that the racing event is over or concluded. It owes its past to the ladies of small mid western towns. These townships would sponsor a horse racing event and would have competitors come from miles around to either race their horses or just watch the festivities. The town's ladies would cook up huge meals and serve them on the race grounds. It has been written that when the meal was ready to be served, the ladies would start waving a checkered table cloth to indicate to the spectators and racers that the racing was over and it was time to come and eat. The use of the checkered table cloth carried over to when automobiles replaced horses and somewhere along the way, the big meals on the grounds were no longer prepared. But the checkered table cloth remained as the indication that the race is over. It is used extensively today to indicate the Winner and a Champion."

anonymous, 14 July 2005