Ben Hunt powers to victory at the 2019 Copthorne Bay of Islands Far North Rally. The rally is back this year after Covid disruption brought the event to a halt for the past two years.

The Copthorne Bay of Islands Far North Rally is back for 2022. As Ben Hunt and Tony Rawstorn checked in at the last time check to win the Far North Rally in September 2019, competitors, service crews and officials immediately started planning the 2020 version of one of the most popular rallies on the New Zealand motorsport calendar. The Covid pandemic and ensuing lockdowns ended any hope of staging events over the next two years as cars sat in sheds and rally people waited for an opportunity to press at again on the sustain pedal. But Saturday July 2 will mark 1016 days since the 2019 event and mark the rally’s return to New Zealand’s best gravel roads.

Safely towed

A man and his dog were towed away safely by a tour boat after their yacht ran into trouble in high winds on the Waitangi River yesterday morning. Adam Prendergast, owner of travel agency Island Getaway, said it was “a stroke of luck” that he found himself on the water and noticed the yacht was in trouble. “Our ship was passing through this area when it started asking for help, so it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time,” he said. “I understand the boat had started dragging its anchor in the strong winds, and it was unable to start the outboard.” “With the winds as strong as they are and the amount of current moving, it didn’t take long for the boat to be under Waitangi Bridge and out the mast.” Prendergast said he spent around 30 minutes pulling the yacht out from below deck, before towing it to the nearest anchorage. The man was also accompanied by a dog in a dingy, which was pulled behind the yacht.

New cases of Covid

Yesterday, 416 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in Northland. Nationally, there were 12,020 new community cases; 957 hospitalizations; 26 people in intensive care and 9 deaths reported yesterday. None of the deaths were in Northland. So far, 91% of the eligible Northland population, 87% of Maori and 99% of Pacific people have received at least one dose. And 88% of the eligible Northland population, 83% of Maori and 97% of Pacific people are fully immunized. All Northland Covid -19 vaccination and testing sites, and where to collect RATs, can be found at www.northlanddhb.org.nz/home/covid-19/

Huge bookings leap

According to holiday home management company Bachcare, accommodation bookings in Northland have increased by 250% year-on-year. Futures bookings from overseas markets increased following changes to managed isolation requirements, with an increase of 330% in Australia, 42% in the UK and 44% in the US, compared to the same period last year.

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