‘Rough, rugged, steep’: Family of missing dirt bike rider Steven Clough reveals final message

The family of a man who went missing from a Victorian campsite have revealed the last contact he had with them before his disappearance.

Steven Clough, 58, was camping at Skipworth Reserve in Kevington when he was last seen at 2pm on Friday before heading off for a dirt bike ride in Mount Terrible.

His daughter Sonia captured her mother Tammy at a press conference on Sunday, recalling that her father sounded happy and excited when she last spoke to him on the phone the day before he disappeared.

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But a text message sent to his wife on the day of his disappearance will provide vital insight to those searching for him and information about the 40 kilometer search area now cordoned off by Victoria Police.

The text message Tammy received around 1 p.m. Friday described the dirt bike trails around Mount Terrible that Clough was interested in exploring that day.

It was a daily correspondence for the experienced camper and dirt bike rider, who regularly took motorcycle and off-road trips in the area, sometimes for two weeks at a time.

“He is a smart man,” his daughter Sonia said on Sunday. “He knows his stuff, he’s done it all his life and he doesn’t make stupid mistakes – he knows what he’s doing.”

Clough had already been on his latest trip for a week and was using a campsite at Skipworth Reserve as a base for day trips to various routes in the area.

This campsite was the last place he was seen, about an hour after he sent his last text to Tammy.

Victoria Police Inspector Rachael Goss said: “Steven’s usual practice was to contact his family each evening and inform them when he returned to the campsite.”

That’s exactly why Clough’s failure to respond to her messages on Friday “caused a lot of shock and a lot of stress,” Sonia said.

Search efforts began Saturday morning and approximately 20 community volunteers have also joined the multi-agency response.

“The community was great. They were very strong and really supported us,” said Sonia.

“Everyone who is looking, we are so grateful for them.”

Steven Clough’s daughter Sonia (right) and his partner Tammy (left) said his disappearance was out of character. Credit: 7NEWS

Seventy search and rescue workers are present, but the difficult terrain makes the search difficult.

“The terrain here is pretty rough and rugged, especially in the areas Steven likes to explore. He’s a dirt bike rider,” Goss said.

“He likes to drive on bumpy roads, some of which are impassable for vehicles.”

Although Clough had a personal emergency device and the means to support himself overnight in the rugged bushland, Goss said the time he spent without contacting family or authorities was concerning.

“It’s quite concerning that he spent two nights there in cooler evening temperatures,” she said.

Sonia and her mother said they shared the authorities’ fears.

“We are quite worried and concerned. We just want to know he’s safe and not hurt. We just want to see him again,” Sonia said.

The search has resumed for Steven, an experienced camper and dirt bike rider, after he was last seen on a horseback riding trip on Friday. Credit: Victoria Police

They made a simple but sincere request to any campers in the area or anyone with information about his whereabouts: “Help.”

“Take care of him, find him and bring him home, especially for my mother.”

Steven is described as white with a medium build and short hair and was last seen wearing light-colored motorcycle gear and a black helmet with green stripes.

His motorcycle is a black, white and orange KTM 350 dirt bike.

Anyone who sees Steven is asked to contact Benalla Police Station on 03 5760 0200.