October 20th 2001

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This was the year of the devastating Foot & Mouth disease outbreak. In February and March over 300 motorsports events were canceled in the U.K. The British Rally Championship was unable to run and it was April before the MSA would consider applications for permits for future events. The Wolverhampton Club took the decision, early, to proceed with the planning of the event despite the idea that it may not be permitted.

The original outline for the rally was to base it at the cattle market in Shrewsbury again. This immediately threw up a major logistical and public relations problem. The market had been closed on the outbreak of the disease and it could not be opened for the rally.

As time went on the restrictions on activities were relaxed but the market did not reopen. Finally it was agreed that the event could go ahead and in fact a small part of the site was used to spray all the vehicles with disinfectant as a bio-security measure.

The pre event facilities were relocated to other places round Shrewsbury and the rally ran successfully. The organisers received no criticism after the event only praise for pressing ahead.

The restrictions on rallying were particularly sever in Ireland and as a consequence The Bulldog attracted several entries form over the water who were feeling with drawl symptoms.

This year saw the inaugural Mitsubishi Ralliart EVO Challenge which was promoted by ANCRO as part of the National Championship. The first winner was young Leon Pesticcio with less young Howard Davies co-driving.

Once again the British Historic Championship was visiting the event and therefore an historic rally was one of the three separate permitted events making up the rally. Desmond Nutt and Geraldine McBride in their Porsche 911 won the Historic category and Iain Freestone with Nick Kennedy in a Ford Escort RS2000 won the Post Historic section.

The National Championship event ran over eight stages and seventy competitive miles. It attracted 70 starters of whom 48 finished. Championship leader David Mann went off and out of time in stage 1, Dyfnant. It was title holder Marcus Dodd who went on to win the rally and the Championship.

On the Meirion it was Ieuan Rowlands and Keith Davis in their venerable two wheel drive Escort who finished on the same time as Stuart Cheape’s Escort Cosworth but won on “furthest cleanest”.

There were 50 miles of 5 stages on the Historic and 40 miles over 4 stages on the national B Meirion Rally.

Thirty five Historics started and twenty five on the Meirion. Twenty six and thirteen respectively finished.