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Cigarette advertising in Australian sport banned, including in motocross

Cigarette advertising in Australian sport banned, including in motocross

Cigarette advertising banned from Australian sports (and motocross)

1992 Craig Dack and Ben Perese Peter Jackson Yamaha - Final year of cigarette advertising and sponsorship
Glen Bell Marlboro Yamaha Racing Team

Photos: [Left]  The 1992 Peter Jackson Yamaha Motocross Team bikes of Craig Dack (1) and Ben Perese (7), the last year  tobacco advertising was allowed in Australian motorsport; and Marlboro Yamaha Racing Team sponsored rider Glen Bell in the late 1980s.

Tobacco companies prevented from advertising in Australian sports, including in motocross

On 17 December 1992, the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1992 was introduced in Australian Parliament, prohibiting broadcasting and publication of tobacco advertisements.  This decision prevented cigarette brands as major sponsors of Australian motorsport, including motocross.

Coincidentally, 1992 would prove to be Peter Jackson Yamaha sponsored rider Craig Dack’s final year of racing, before he hung up his helmet and moved on to become one of Australia’s most successful MX/SX team owner/manager over the past 30-plus years.

Ironically, the “Dack Attack’s” first year as a team manager was the first and last with the Peter Jackson tobacco sponsorship.

Tobacco sponsorship of sporting organisations, teams, and events in Australia was banned because of the ethical and public health considerations surrounding tobacco products.  Although advertising tobacco products on television was banned back in 1976, tobacco companies initially got around this through on ground advertising and naming rights to teams and events, such as the Marlboro and Peter Jackson Yamaha Racing Teams in the 1980s and 1990s.

1992 Craig Dack Peter Jackson Yamaha Motocross Team Lee Hogan and Ben Perese

Photo:  In 1992 Peter Jackson Yamaha sponsored rider Craig Dack (Centre) retired from racing and set up his own team with the tobacco company, featuring Lee Hogan and Ben Perese.

Cigarette advertising in motocross across Australia and New Zealand dates back to the 1960s when pioneer Tim Gibbes started the International Motocross Gold Leaf Series and ANZ International Motocross series across both countries.

During the 1970s. Marlboro sponsored the Harley Scramble in Western Australia, when the iconic event moved from the Rope Works Circuit in Mosman Park, near Perth to the Mount Brown circuit in country town York. In addition to the Harley Scramble, the top riders were selected to contested for the Marlboro Champion of Champions Final.

Then in the 1980s we saw both Marlboro and Peter Jackson cigarette brands establish their Yamaha racing teams when the National Mr. Motocross series was at its peak. Peter Jackson also sponsored the prestigious National Supercross Masters Series in the 1980s and 1990s.

Quit campaign helps sports transition

1992 Motocross of Nations Program - Quit advertisement featuring Jeff Leisk

Research by Quit Victoria in Australia concluded that in 1980 the three major sponsors for sport that year were the largest tobacco companies, with the tobacco industry put a whopping 34 million dollars into cricket and rugby league alone in 1989.

For a while, the big tobacco companies explored loopholes in the 1992 tobacco advertising prohibition act until the year 2000, when an amendment was made totally banning all tobacco sponsorship and advertising by October 2006.

To help sporting bodies and events cope with financial losses and transition to the new rules, Health Departments across Australia injected big money into sporting events (including motocross) in the 1990s through the QUIT smoking campaign.

Photo: 1992 Motocross of Nations Program advertisement – WA Health Department’s Quit smoking campaign featuring Runner-up World Champion Jeff Leisk.

Photo gallery

Gold Leaf Series in New Zealand - Posters
1968 Marlboro girl Sandra attends to a customer, with rider Gordon Renfree in the background at the Harley Scramble in York, WA - Australasian Road & Track
1986 Motocross of Nations - Australian team - Craig Dack - Maggiora, Italy

Photos: [Left] The New Zealand Gold Leaf International Motocross series in the 1960s (Tim Gibbes Collection); [Centre] 1968 Marlboro girl Sandra attends to a customer, with rider Gordon Renfree in the background at the  Harley Scramble in York, WA (Australasian Road & Track); and [Right] Australian Craig Dack donning a Camel vest at the 1986 Motocross of Nations in Italy.

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Australian Motocross History