I can only go on my own experience of add-in IO cards in the answer I'm gonna give you here, so further research may suggest different to what I have to say.
In my experience, IO add-in cards are not normally BIOS controlled.
The rerason for this is that the BIOS is only really responsible for coordinating how the Mother Board talks to the peripherals connected to it. The Parallel card you mentioned will almost certainly have been supplied with a driver disk that is installed in XP, am I right?
For this reason, the card will only become usable once Windows starts.
Another example is when people add a USB card to allow several more usb ports to the back of their machine. Because this add-in card is (in effect) software driver controlled, you wouldn't expect a USB keyboard or mouse to function at start-up.
A client of mine couldn't work out why his computer wouldn't give him access to his BIOS settings at boot, and it was for this reason.
I have googled this problem, without much of a result my friend.
I am interested in getting feedback on this though Mark, and will gratefully receive any info on how you may have got this card to work in the manner you have described.
Post back and let us know..