Is there an obvious meaning to this phrase in the following sentence (the context is a motorbike race) :

This is where the big boys stand out and race their flags on the boards.

How should I interpret it ?

closed as off-topic by StoneyB, Damkerng T., user3169, Tyler James Young, Em1 May 21 '14 at 20:37

  • This question does not appear to be about learning the English language within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

migrated from french.stackexchange.com May 21 '14 at 15:44

This question came from our site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the French language.

  • I'm unfamiliar with "on the boards" being used like this. Perhaps, it makes more sense in sailing, where "board" could mean "a distance covered by a vessel in a single tack". – Damkerng T. May 21 '14 at 15:59
  • 4
    This not idiomatic English; its source is an advertising blurb which was clearly NOT written by a native speaker, and there's no telling what the author meant. – StoneyB May 21 '14 at 16:37
  • I don't find the expression anywhere except in the motorcycle racing app blurb that the OP is probably reading. Here's a speculative possibility: in Australian Supercross rules, a black board with a rider's number, along with black flag held stationary, means that that rider has to come in for a pit stop on the next lap. This could be a "flag on the board". Since managing your pit stops well is essential in a race, then "racing your flags on the boards" could mean that you have to manage your race around your pit stops. – BobRodes May 21 '14 at 16:39
  • And then as StoneyB points out, there are plenty of grammatical erros in Zinida Tulchinski's blurb, which suggests that he/she might have made up the term as well. Since it's the only place I can find the expression, it's likely that StoneyB is right. My speculation was still creative, though. :) – BobRodes May 21 '14 at 16:41

The phrase is a metaphor.

The scoreboard of the race will show the flags of the competitors. As the competitors race, their position, and so their flags, moves on the scoreboard.

Hence a metaphor for the race itself is a race of the flags on the boards.

It is not a common expression and smacks of the hyperbole used by sports commentators.