October 24th 1996

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Following the success of the 1995 event Bulldog Security Products agreed to continue sponsorship and to become the title sponsor; although the event name was the Bulldog Midland Rally for a transitional year. So started a long and fruitful partnership which enabled the event to develop and experiment with new ideas.

Not only was the event the last round of the Mintex National Championship for this year it ran an historic event for the first time under a separate permit. This was the last round of the British Historic Championship.

The Meirion Rally name was restored to the clubman’s event as Aberystwyth Car Club came on board to promote its event of that name.

The routes followed the pattern of the previous year with an Aberystwyth start and finish and services at Dyliffe and Dolgellau.

This was still the era of management service vehicles (chase cars) which were additional to normal service vehicles and both major championships permitted them. The club took the marketing decision not to permit them on the clubmans rally which ran inbetween the other two events.

The Mintex series had been won by Chris Mellors on the previous round and he had elected to ‘sit out’ the Bulldog. This gave Steve Hill a chance of his first overall stage rally win and he took it.

This was the year the Network Q rally ran for two wheel drive Formula 2 cars only, this with the British Championship also focussed on the same cars opened an opportunity for the National Championship to provide a home for the more exciting turbo powered four wheel drive cars.

Renault an Nissan brought along their latest two wheel drive contenders to prepare for the World Championship round later in the year. This was in the days before the FIA was troubled by anyone getting an unfair advantage by practising.

The historic rally had twenty one entries, all built before the end of 1967 and there was not one Escort. The event was won by John Keatley in his 911 by 18 seconds from Jimmy McRae in a Lotus Cortina.

The Meirion was won by Dave Humphries in his Escort Cosworth.