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Glorious spring conditions greeted riders in the 2013 Livelighter Dardanup Tour and the golden gnomes up for grabs were gleaming in the bright sunshine.

The SWCC aims to provide a supportive environment for everyone to give cycling, events and competing a go and it was fantastic to see a large group head off for the 24km Livelighter Ferguson Valley Cycle Challenge including a number who had completed the 5 week development series leading up to the event. Escorted by a number of experienced SWCC ride leaders the bunch enjoyed the great conditions and lack of wind. So good to see so many juniors in the group also and well done to young Mian Grimbeek who led the group home earning himself a Golden Gnome for his efforts!!

The Category 1 bunch were the first group away in the individual 39km road race and it was SWCC Racing’s Vaughan Berge who was applying the pressure in the bunch with young LJ Sleegers from Cowaramup representing the Eddy Hollands team also riding strongly. This pair finished 1st and 2nd with Scott Newman claiming 3rd and SWCC’s Daniel Lloyd Smith taking out the bunch sprint and 4th place.

Category 2 was a case of SWCC vs SPR and although suffering a bad crash the day before SW’s Marten Howes found himself in the break. The bunch pulled them back on the run in back to Dardanup and it was SPR’s Desmond Mullins who took the win ahead of one of SWCC Race Team’s recent recruits, Joel Hodgson. SPR’s Sam Luccitti was third with the BDC Driller’s Brent Allan sprinting strongly to claim 4th.

With close to 60 riders registered for category 3, the group was split into two separate bunches for the road race. Representing Team Prime Phil Smith showed a good turn of speed to take out Cat 3A from Team Manji Crew representatives Steven Croft and Richard Cook with the BDC Driller’s Tony Shaw in 4th place.

Category 3B was taken out by Team Manjimup Crew’s Graeme Pollet ahead of SPR’s Craig James with new Drillers recruit Vikram Cheema ahead of Eaton Home Hardware’s representative Simon Goyder.

With only a short rest and the offer of some great healthy options refreshments courtesy of the Dardanup P and C, it was time to hit the road again in the team time trial. It is always difficult to back up after a road race and complete a strong time trial and the times were never going to be super quick in spite of the conditions.

In Category 1 just over 30 seconds separated the top 3 teams with winner of the road race, Vaughan Berge pulling the SWCC Racing Team home to take out the win and the golden gnomes with Daniel Lloyd-Smith unfortunately puncturing towards the end of the race. KD Cycles put in a great TTT to take silver ahead of the Eddy Hollands team who claimed the bronze gnomes.

These results saw Vaughan Berge claim the overall Gnome and a new club colours Kask helmet ahead of reigning SWCC KOM champion LJ Sleegers with Scott Newman claiming third place overall ahead of Daniel Lloyd Smith and Connor Sherwin.

In Category 2 the SPR crew put in some great efforts in the TTT to claim 1st and 2nd taking the gold and silver gnomes in 1.02.30 and 1.03.57 ahead of SWCC Racing team in 3rd place in 1.04.18. This saw SPR’s Des Mullins claim the overall victory ahead of Sam Luccitti also from SPR with SWCC’s Joel Hodgson 3rd and Dave Manners and Andrew Ballam also from SPR 4th and 5th.

There were some tired legs amongst the Category 3 riders and a few who didn’t finish the full distance on this second lap of the valley. Fantastic effort by Team Manji Crew though who have improved out of sight over the last 12 months and claimed the golden gnomes in 1.06.59. Second place went to Team Prime in 1.08.02 ahead of Eaton Home Hardware in 1.09.22. Team Manji Crew dominated the overall placings as a result of their good form in both the TTT and the results in the road races and Steve Croft was the overall individual winner ahead of Richard Cook. Third place went to Phil Smith from team Prime ahead of Roger Kamman from Team Manji and Prime’s Kim Overington.