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Lapthorne joins hunt for sister

Darren Lapthorne (Drapac Porsche) gives his all

Darren Lapthorne (Drapac Porsche) gives his all (Image credit: Shane Goss)

Former Australian Open Road Champion Darren Lapthorne has arrived in Croatia and joined the search for his missing sister Britt. The 21 year-old went missing after leaving Club Fuego in Dubrovnik on September 18, with the youngster never returning to the hostel where she had been staying.

Darren, who rides for the German Team Sparkasse, is the first of the Lapthorne family to arrive in the European nation. His father, Dale, is expected to join the search later this week, with the family currently in contact with Australian politician Senator Steve Fielding who is in the nation on business.

"It's taking a long time and it's time that Britt doesn't have," Darren told The Age. "She's paying for this time right now. We are desperate … it's not looking good."

The Lapthorne family had been frustrated with the efforts of local police and have now offered a €100,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Britt, which will be funded by the sale of their family home. A member of the Australian Federal Police has also flow to Croatia to assist with the hunt.

"I'm prepared to post a very large reward," Dale told "I don't have the money, but I'm prepared to sell my house if I have to for our daughter.

"I can't say I'm confident," he added. "At the moment I'm feeling ... she will be found. I'd be naive and stupid if I said she was definitely alive. In a case like this it's generally for the worst, but I'm living on that glimmer of hope and until I know otherwise we're not going to give it up."

Darren won the Australian titles in 2007 while riding for Melbourne-based Drapac-Porsche and held the jersey until Silence-Lotto's Matt Lloyd won this year's event. He joined Team Sparkasse at the start of 2008 in order to race more in Europe.

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