1988, Superbike and Portuguese law


Davide Tardozzi in BIMOTA YB4 the winner of the 1st sleeve

In 1988, a scoring event for the Superbike World Championship was held at the Estoril Circuit, that was also the year in which this championship began to be disputed. The company that created and initially managed the marketing of it was SPORTS MARKETING, where Steve McLaughlin was the most visible face. Steve was a former rider (he won the Superbike at Daytona in 1976 riding a BMW R90S) and belonged to a family involved in motorcycling sports as riders, agents or promoters. Steve began his career as an international promoter in 1985 when he traveled, on behalf of the Daytona owners, to Europe to hire local drivers to participate in the American race. From there until having designed and agreed with the FIM the creation of the Superbike World Championship was a step.



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Steve McLaughlin (nr. 83) in action at Daytona 1976

Small documentary about Steve McLaughlin


To get the race in Portugal, Steve established a partnership with Pedro Luiz de Castro. They quickly came to the conclusion that, given the funds involved, they needed a sponsor who could and was willing to bear a significant portion of the financial cost. Tobacco was, at that time, a normal option and when they contacted Tabaqueira, they found that this company viewed the intended contribution positively, but at the same time, they found that there was a problem: the law that, at the time, allowed tobacco advertising in sporting events only covered motor racing events that were part of an FIA championship!... For this reason, they were forced to arrange a meeting with the Minister of Commerce and Tourism at the time (Joaquim Ferreira do Amaral) where they were accompanied by Miguel Sousa Tavares (as a lawyer) in order to eliminate this negative discrimination against motorcycling. So it was, Ferreira do Amaral easily understood what was at stake and did it justice: an order to change the wording of said article, where the reading FIA became FIA ​​and FIM. Seeming a minor episode, it is not. Motorcycles in Portugal have a history of negative discrimination legislation and, in fact, it is necessary to recognize that Pedro Luiz de Castro and Steve McLaughlin were able to promote a legal amendment that restored justice to motorcycling.


Fred Merkel in HONDA RC30 (left) and Stéphane Mertens in BIMOTA YB4 winner of the 2nd heat (right), two protagonists of the race


This made it possible to hold the Portuguese stage of the Superbike in the year of its creation.

From left to right: Pedro Luiz de Castro, Joaquim Ferreira do Amaral and Miguel Sousa Tavares



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