HALESOWEN'S John Connor, co-driving for Richard Archer in an Opel Corsa S1600, ventured across to Belgium to compete on the infamous Ypres Rally.

The 50-year-old event, which took place from June 19-21, receives entries from far and wide and usually also attracts World Rally Championship class crews.

The Thursday of the rally is for practice and qualifying runs with the competitive rally taking place throughout Friday and Saturday.

Connor and Archer were seeded to start in 71st position out of 84 competitors. The Ypres Rally is affectionately known as the 24 hours rally because of the history behind it and is one of the most famous rallies in the European Rally Championship. Connor/Archer were to finish in 46th position.

John Connor said: "It was the hardest event I've ever done and Belgium makes the UK scene seem pathetic in comparison. We had lots of problems which started when we took a big cut on a corner on Friday night and clattered the front left wheel on something very hard, this resulted in a wheel bearing failure and no front brakes for five stages. We couldn't change this until the final 45 minute service of the day'.

"Our car ran like clockwork on day two until we had intercom failure going into the longest stage of the day. We resorted to hand signals and the time loss wasn't huge. On the next loop we slid wide into a gate post smashing the drivers window, door, rear panel and removing the rear wide wheel arch. We then drove five stages with no window until final service where we replaced it. We also visited a field during the same loop and were lucky to get back out.

"On the final stage we suffered a puncture near the start and stopped to change it. Then after a few more miles we started to get low fuel pressure warnings and were very relieved to see the finish in the historic Ypres market square of an event that's been on my tick list since I first started in the sport 30 years ago."