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#1 Manfred Cubenoggin

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 11:06

Hi, fellas!

 

I did a search on the forum and couldn't find much in the way of reference re the topic so...

 

I'd be interested to learn about the history of starting money.  When did this come into fashion?  (Circus Maximus circa 100 BC?)  What determined the award and what sums might have been involved?  Horror stories regarding 'starting money specials'?  Reneging on payment or failure to appear?  Is it still a feature of some competitions?
 
There must be a ton of tales worth a read.


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#2 Barry Boor

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 11:39

As far as I know there was no starting money in Austria in 1972. Money was paid by positions at quarter, half and three-quarter distance as well as the finish.

We got some for the quarter distance but never made it to half.

However, I can't speak for what the top teams may or may not have received.

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 12:28

Stirling Moss always drew more starting money than most, that's recorded in at least one of his books...

While it's a practice which probably existed from the twenties and thirties, I'm sure it 'came of age' in the fifties.

#4 kevins

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 15:20

If I may reply in relation to motorcycle racing ...

 

I know it was common up to at least the 80's, I remember a race report (Imola 200 perhaps, '83 or '84) in which Freddie Spencer retired on the first lap or so and Motor Cycle News made  a big deal saying he earned x amount per second (dividing his start money by time on track)!

 

And, Barry Sheene was often criticised by  for not going to the TT yet being happy to take the Scarborough / Oliver's Mount starting money, not that you can compare the two IMO.

 

OP - great sig!!!


Edited by kevins, 26 July 2019 - 15:31.


#5 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 16:29

I am just re-reading the Alf Francis book 'Racing Mechanic' in which here are many references to starting money with HWM in particular.



#6 BRG

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 16:40

I've always been more intrigued about where the start money CAME from, given that ticket prices in those days were measured in pence rather than pounds.



#7 ray b

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 18:56

lots of side issues to with starting money

 

like the split owner/driver

 

in the USA it was mostly prize money for finishing position and published in the local newspapers

ie first to last and amounts listed for each

 

then there was equipment funding for spark plugs gas oil tyres shocks brakes ect

 

rob walker wrote about breaking even on a MC  podium finish in the late 60's in R&T

 

as per dan G most of the eagle funding was from the gas and oil corps in 50/60 f-1 prior to the car sponsor/sign deals 

so I suspect the real money was not the starting money in f-1  but corprat even before signs went on the cars



#8 ray b

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 19:03

I've always been more intrigued about where the start money CAME from, given that ticket prices in those days were measured in pence rather than pounds.

yes but lots and lots of tickets adds up

plus track sign ads before burnie scooped that up

concessions and other income also

 

and starting funds were never HUGE

maybe $500 to a backmarker vs 5 10k to a WC team



#9 Sterzo

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 19:35

Starting money wasn't restricted to the upper echelons. There are all those tales of sixties and seventies F3 drivers taking a trailer round Europe and surviving on the starting money. The organisers generally had sponsorship to supplement income from ticket sales. John Webb of Brands Hatch spoke of laying out money to attract some foreign names, as he felt a few in the programme made it a proper race meeting.

 

To my rage and shame, I can't find my copy of Cholmondoley-Tapper's book describing how he toured Europe towing (I think) his Bugatti 35B behind a T43 with a rolled-up canvas tent in the cockpit. He might, just might, mention starting money.



#10 Vitesse2

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 22:27

To my rage and shame, I can't find my copy of Cholmondoley-Tapper's book describing how he toured Europe towing (I think) his Bugatti 35B behind a T43 with a rolled-up canvas tent in the cockpit. He might, just might, mention starting money.

I believe Whitney Straight's racing budget in Europe was based on at least breaking even by way of starting money (and supplier retainers) received - any prize money being pure profit. Seaman would have followed a similar business model.

 

The book Mythos Klausen by Bernhard Brägger includes reproductions of 1934 correspondence from both Scuderia Ferrari and Whitney Straight Ltd. Start money for Seaman is quoted as 450 Swiss francs - no figures for Hamilton or Straight, but this letter was clarifying that they were bringing three cars, not two, so it may be that Klausen paid only per car, rather than per driver if an entry was shared.

 

The Ferrari letter - which I think is a demand (it's in Italian, which I don't really read) - quotes 2000 francs each for Varzi, Chiron, Moll and Trossi and 1500 each for Lehoux, Tadini 'or other drivers'. There's a pencil note on it which I think could mean that Klausen were actually prepared to pay 3500 each for Varzi and Chiron - or 5000 each if Moll didn't appear. In the event, Scuderia Ferrari didn't appear at all - presumably they decided to concentrate their efforts on the Pescara meeting ten days later instead. During which of course Moll was killed ...



#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 23:11

In the early sixties the Australian drivers of top-line cars formed a cartel or union...

The purpose was to ensure that starting money would be reasonable for them to appear at major events, like the Gold Star races.

This makes it clear that starting money was in vogue here at the time for local racers and that drivers sometimes didn't appear if it wasn't sufficient. There was one Gold Star round in 1962 (or was it '63?) where they all jacked up and stayed at home, the race (at Lowood) being won by Greg Cusack in David McKay's Cooper.

McKay was right in the thick of it and so he stayed away, but he honoured his obligations to his sponsors by having his car there with another driver.

The pre-Tasman races and the Tasman Cup series lived on starting money. Negotiations were done there for a starting price to contest the whole series of races, though there were some individual race deals done, like for Graham Hill in the Lotus at Warwick Farm in 1967.

All of which is nothing to do with where it started. But I would think there was a bit of it going on back as far as the immediate pre-WW1 years.

#12 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 23:28

I know that for big road race events tow money was paid. As well as prize money.

Very common in speedway as well. Even for backmarkers as to put on a show you needed quantity as well as quality.

Decades ago one better performed speedway sedan competitor I know made money over the season. And this taking into account every cost down to fasteners and spray cans of paint. Ofcourse him and his helpers worked for nothing and probably 10-15 hours a week to turn the car around for next week.

 

My Classic SuperModified in 75 76 season earnt up to $166.82 in appearance, start money and racepoint value. This was more than a weeks wages for many in those days. And this in a front running B grade car. The reason there was full fields

 

Until about 10 years ago even us Classic Speedway guys got a few bucks. And at least two free admissions for people with NASR licences.Now you pay and pay again to run. The reason why fields these days  are so poor. In all forms of motorsport

Promoters should take a long hard look at them selves and the start promoting to get people in the gate at a reasonable price. Admissions these days turn off the general public from attending. Trying to make money from the competitors gate simply turns them away.


Edited by Lee Nicolle, 26 July 2019 - 23:38.


#13 Michael Ferner

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 06:00

As far as I know there was no starting money in Austria in 1972. Money was paid by positions at quarter, half and three-quarter distance as well as the finish.

We got some for the quarter distance but never made it to half.

However, I can't speak for what the top teams may or may not have received.

 

That sounds very much like the FOCA deal that Ecclestone brokered in the seventies, and that became the standard F 1 deal later in the decade. It also included starting money (40 % of the toal sum, iirc - I have the exact breakdown somewhere), which was based on WDC points earned in the previous two half seasons, so no luck for Connew there! :( This was a first attempt at a 'democratic' system for staring money, as everyone got the same deal - previous  to that, everyone made his own deal, and usually the big teams got the far better ones.

 

In the US, starting money was around since the late twenties, the latest, probably much earlier, too. You can find references here and there, but it was mostly a hush-hush business. The AAA tried to regulate it for some time, but probably without much success. Generally, the better teams and drivers made at least as much in starting money as they won in purse money. The lesser ones lived off the crumbs. At some point, tow money came into play, to encourage out-of-state drivers and owners to compete. This, I think, best illustrates the true value of starting money for the promoters: to bring not only big names, but also variety into the fields. When Midget racing, for example, was dominated by cookie-cutter Kurtis-Kraft chassis with Offenhauser engines, a promoter might have been well advised to pay some starting money to a home-made chassis with a V8-60, just to liven up the field.

 

This is all in the pages of the book "The Art of Race Promoting", yet to be written!  :|



#14 Bloggsworth

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 07:24

 

Hi, fellas!

 

I did a search on the forum and couldn't find much in the way of reference re the topic so...

 

I'd be interested to learn about the history of starting money.  When did this come into fashion?  (Circus Maximus circa 100 BC?)  What determined the award and what sums might have been involved?  Horror stories regarding 'starting money specials'?  Reneging on payment or failure to appear?  Is it still a feature of some competitions?
 
There must be a ton of tales worth a read.

 

 

Funny you should mention the Circus Maximus, the highest paid sportsman there has ever been (adjusted for inflation) was a Roman charioteer, Gaius Appuleius Diocles, with career winnings equivalent to $15 billion - I would guess he merited appearance money...


Edited by Bloggsworth, 27 July 2019 - 07:25.


#15 DCapps

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 20:04

This is one of the many topics that tends to often fall through the cracks for various reasons, regardless of the locale on the globe.

 

Both Innes Ireland & Rob Walker provide information the starting money deals of the early/mid-Sixties, which were followed by the Stuttgart deal and so on.

 

The USGP then under the direction of Cam Argetsinger, eliminated starting money and went with strictly prize money in 1966. However, transportation was part of a separate arrangement.

 

The scheme that Barry alludes to was devised in the early-Seventies and in some exited well into the Eighties -- the current details being published in a Dallas newspaper following the Dallas GP, which did not amuse Mr. Ecclestone one bit....

 

The appearance money, tow money,  and various others systems used on the USA side of the Atlantic varied from series to series and over time, of course. In many cases, the previous season's champion got a certain amount for appearing at an event; some series had this feature for drivers in the top five or ten or whatever. All in all, it is a pretty interesting topic if for no other reason than its variety.

 

This is all related, of course, to the contingency monies doled out the use of certain products by the team or driver.

 

If you look into the TNF Archives, there should be a few threads there that touch upon various aspects of all this.



#16 Roger Clark

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 10:41

I’m not aware of the Stuttgart scale mentioned by Don Capps. Can anybody tell me more?

Before the First World War, competitors paid an entrance fee for Grands Prix. This had certainly been reversed by the 1930s; Nuvolari’s 1931 contract with Scuderia Ferrari included the phrase: “30 per cent of the funds which the Scuderia receive as fee for the participation of Cav. Nuvolari shall also be due to the driver. Alfred Neubauer’s responsibilities included negotiation of starting money for Mercedes cars.

I don’t know when the change happened but suspect that it was connected with the rise of private entries after 1927.

#17 BRG

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 23:03

Still not sure if the figures add up...

yes but lots and lots of tickets adds up    But how many tickets were sold for race meetings?  50,000 @ 5 shillings a go is only £12,500 which wouldn't go far.

plus track sign ads before burnie scooped that up   Before mass TV coverage, did they pay very much?

concessions and other income also    Concessions, yes but again we are not talking huge sums.  Other income?  Such as?

 

and starting funds were never HUGE

maybe $500 to a backmarker vs 5 10k to a WC team    But see point #1 above.  One WC team has taken most of the income already.  How are they paying circuit maintenance costs, wages for the workforce and so on?

 

I remain puzzled.



#18 Michael Ferner

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 10:30

Depends very much on the time. Track signs probably didn't pay very much, but there were lots at most tracks, so it adds up. Don't underestimate concessions, as a rule of thumb they will at least double the ticket income - and that's without the programme sales! And TV was coming into play by the sixties, becoming huge in the seventies already, so really you need to be more specific about the time before you begin to make calculations.

 

Oh, and thanks, Roger, for mentioning entry fees - I don't think they were abandoned at all, although they were usually (often? sometimes?) paid back on appearance, so that DNAs would be adding to the funds.


Edited by Michael Ferner, 29 July 2019 - 10:34.


#19 Roger Clark

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 10:58

This may have been posted on the forum before but the basis of the Monte Carlo scale introduced in 1961 for world championship races was:

 

Constructors entries:

First car £1,000

Second car £900

Third car £800

The sum of £100 to be added to the Starting Money for the existing World Chamion.

 

Scuderias, Equipes, finance houses etc with the exception of Moss, would be offered between £400 and £600 per entry. subject to the total amount of money available to the race promotor.

 

£100 per entry was withheld against non-appearance in practice.

 

Source BRM Volume 2, D Nye.:



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#20 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 14:36

I believe Whitney Straight's racing budget in Europe was based on at least breaking even by way of starting money (and supplier retainers) received - any prize money being pure profit. Seaman would have followed a similar business model.

 

The book Mythos Klausen by Bernhard Brägger includes reproductions of 1934 correspondence from both Scuderia Ferrari and Whitney Straight Ltd. Start money for Seaman is quoted as 450 Swiss francs - no figures for Hamilton or Straight, but this letter was clarifying that they were bringing three cars, not two, so it may be that Klausen paid only per car, rather than per driver if an entry was shared.

 

The Ferrari letter - which I think is a demand (it's in Italian, which I don't really read) - quotes 2000 francs each for Varzi, Chiron, Moll and Trossi and 1500 each for Lehoux, Tadini 'or other drivers'. There's a pencil note on it which I think could mean that Klausen were actually prepared to pay 3500 each for Varzi and Chiron - or 5000 each if Moll didn't appear. In the event, Scuderia Ferrari didn't appear at all - presumably they decided to concentrate their efforts on the Pescara meeting ten days later instead. During which of course Moll was killed ...

 

That would be 100.000 in today's money, so a very solid amount.

 

I think it was Chris Nixon's "Racing the Silver Arrows" which gave the amounts earned by the best of the 1930ies drivers and for some reason Hans Stuck stand out in my memory as making a comparable $ 1 million in his best season, have not had the hard copies past 20 years so can not look that up.... 

 

:cool:



#21 Blue6ix

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 12:19

Weren't there also a famous Mayfair Scale as well for distributing starting money back in the 1960s?



#22 Allan Lupton

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 13:55

Weren't there also a famous Mayfair Scale as well for distributing starting money back in the 1960s?

That'd have been in the bar at the Steering Wheel Club :p



#23 Blue6ix

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 15:16

That'd have been in the bar at the Steering Wheel Club :p

 

Then appearing also with or right after Mayfair Scale was also the Paris Scale for distributing starting money back in the 1960s unless it was only a misinterpreted name for the Monte Carlo Scale.


Edited by Blue6ix, 30 July 2019 - 15:16.


#24 Derwent Motorsport

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 16:43

In the 80s Ingliston used to pay start money to get entries from outside Scotland. There was prize money as well. I don't know if any other clubby events did that but Ingliston got really good crowds in those days and of course there were  a max of 16 starters.



#25 Manfred Cubenoggin

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 17:09

Many thanks to my fellow members here at TNF for their responses.

 

I seem to recall from the in-period piece in Road & Track magazine on the USGP at The Glen in 1966 that starting money was not awarded but rather shoveled over into a handsome purse for finishers.  Don Capps mentions as much above in post #15.

 

As well, I believe that the SCCA featured large purse awards in lieu of starting money for CanAm events

 

As a potential sidebar issue, I'd appreciate any postings in the way of information regarding lap money/awards.  To the best of my admittedly limited knowledge, the Indianapolis 500 Sweepstakes race was the only event that featured such prizes.  Amounts were payable for leading or placing highly on specific laps.  I wonder what those awards were, criteria, when the practice started/ceased, who collected, etc.  Any other events with such an award?



#26 Collombin

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 17:57

The first lap leading prizes at Indy were in 1920 as far as I can tell.

#27 Roger Clark

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 07:39

The Italian Grand Prix featured prizes at ¼, ½ and ¾ distance during (at least) the early 1970s. Jackie Stewart usually made his way to the front of the slipstreaming pack when money was due.

#28 Michael Ferner

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 13:24

In the Buzz Rose book, The Eastern Bull Rings (p55), there's a facsimile of a page from a ledger Tommy Hinnershitz kept, detailing his purse winnings and expenses. The page contains 36 entries from the beginning of the 1948 racing season, going through September 25, so almost a complete year (according to what I have, he made five more appearances after that). It makes for interesting study, but I will spare me the trouble of copying the entire page here, yet the totals for the three headings provide food for thought:

 

Expenses: $ 1,660.94

Appearance (i.e. starting money): $ 6,200.00

Earnings (i.e. purse winnings): $ 8,918.50

 

A very good year for Tommy, who totalled $ 13,457.56 - however, not included in the expenses is the money (and man hours!) he sunk into his brand new car that year, although he kept the engine from 1947 for it. In 1948, he was a very close runner-up to Ted Horn in the Eastern Championship, his third runner-up finish in a career spanning two decades so far, and the last before he won the first of his seven championships, so his appearance deals should have become much juicier in later years. It was also the last year he started at Indianapolis, providing him with by far the biggest winnings of $ 1,449.50*, but no starting money at all, as usual. The next biggest entry is for a win at Williams Grove the next week, $ 825.00, which probably also includes starting money because it's way more than the usual winnings, and the "appearance" column is empty for this one (most unusual for a race in the East). Indianapolis also was the most expensive race for him, with $ 482.00 in lodging and food for several weeks in May, plus lots of miles getting there and home again - at least he didn't have to tow for this one. I would love to see more pages of this historic document, which apparently is an exhibit at the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing in York Springs, Pa.

 

* 9th place at Indy paid $ 4,270.00 to the entrant in 1948, and Tommy's share was probably 35 % (this often varied from team to team, and driver to driver), so it should actually have been $ 1,494.50 - maybe a typo in the ledger, or did Mr. Walsh shortchange him!?!?? :eek:



#29 Michael Ferner

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 13:38

 

As a potential sidebar issue, I'd appreciate any postings in the way of information regarding lap money/awards.  To the best of my admittedly limited knowledge, the Indianapolis 500 Sweepstakes race was the only event that featured such prizes.  Amounts were payable for leading or placing highly on specific laps.  I wonder what those awards were, criteria, when the practice started/ceased, who collected, etc.  Any other events with such an award?

 

Lap money is a not very frequent, but still quite popular feature of US racing, even at short tracks. It's usually (always?) confined to the leader, sometimes at certain intermediate distances, sometimes for every lap led. As E. B. said, Indianapolis very probably started the practice in 1920, and I have seen lap prizes advertised for some special events at Ascot in the thirties already, but also for some of the bigger Sprint car races in the sixties and seventies.

 

It's mostly forgotten today, but Indianapolis actually awarded trophies and prize money for the leaders at 200, 300 and 400 miles even before 1920! The Wheeler & Schebler Trophy, awarded to the leader at 400 miles, was valued at $ 10,000, the same amount that was paid to the second place winner at the end of the race! Thus, Ralph de Palma still made a handsome killing in 1912, even though he didn't see a cent of the official purse.


Edited by Michael Ferner, 25 August 2019 - 13:40.


#30 Glengavel

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 19:50

Lap money is a not very frequent, but still quite popular feature of US racing, even at short tracks. It's usually (always?) confined to the leader, sometimes at certain intermediate distances, sometimes for every lap led. As E. B. said, Indianapolis very probably started the practice in 1920, and I have seen lap prizes advertised for some special events at Ascot in the thirties already, but also for some of the bigger Sprint car races in the sixties and seventies.

 

It's mostly forgotten today, but Indianapolis actually awarded trophies and prize money for the leaders at 200, 300 and 400 miles even before 1920! The Wheeler & Schebler Trophy, awarded to the leader at 400 miles, was valued at $ 10,000, the same amount that was paid to the second place winner at the end of the race! Thus, Ralph de Palma still made a handsome killing in 1912, even though he didn't see a cent of the official purse.

 

At the first 'Monzanapolis' event in 1957 the Jaguar team came through from the back of the field and hoovered up a bonus for being the leaders at the end of the first lap of the first heat. Come the second heat, the US contingent blocked the same tactic, rather unsporting...