Dubbo cycle club
Garry "Gus" Dawson
Garry Arthur Dawson, passed away 20th December 2023. Aged 72 years. Late of Dubbo, Dearly loved husband of Marg.
Loving father of Brent, Kate & Tim. Loving farther in-law of Georgie, Brad & Victoria.
Cherished & adored Gussy of Ollie, Lachie, Sid, Will and Tommy, Dear brother & brother-in-law of Tom & Marg, Maree (dec), John & Percy (dec).
The Dubbo community lost a true sporting legend in the lead up to Christmas. Internationally recognised cycling coach Garry ‘Gus’ Dawson passed away in Dubbo aged 72.
While Gus will leave a large hole in the Dubbo sporting community, he leaves a legacy of having developed some extraordinary athletes and has influenced the lives of many people for the better. A number of his proteges have gone on to represent on the world stage, while for others he provided incomparable support and guidance enabling them to enjoy full and happy lives.
With Gus taking up riding at the age of 8 and then moving into a coaching role at 28, it is difficult to encapsulate his extensive sporting life. While personal achievements were not what Gus measured his life by there was one which held a special place in his heart. In 1964 Gus broke the NSW School Boys cycling record. What made this so important to him was not the record itself but the fact that it was held by his older brother Tom and went on to be broken by his younger brother Percy. His numerous individual cycling achievements (NSW Sprint Title, U15 Cyclist of the Year in 1965 and the youngest ever finalist in the prestigious Austral Cycling Race) demonstrate his personal ability on the bike. It was, however, his efforts off the bike which garnered him enormous success throughout the years.
It was after these individual successes that Gus then took a break from cycling to play Rugby League with Macquarie. He was a goal kicker who was part of a junior team that went throughout the season undefeated, only to fall at the last hurdle losing the Grand Final to Canowindra.
Gus returned to cycling in 1973 and raced until he was 28 years old. Riding the NSW circuit his pro resume includes a third place in the Nyngan to Dubbo cycling race but it was when Gus hung up his bike that his influence in Dubbo sporting scene, and the wider cycling community took off.
As a cycling coach, mechanic and mentor there was none finer. This was recognized in 2010 when Gus was awarded the Australian Cycling Coach of the Year. It is impossible to quantify the entirety of his career off the bike, a brief summary however can be provided to reflect the enormity of Gus’s influence:
Coached cyclists to win 165 National titles,
Coached cyclists to win seven Junior World Titles
Coached cyclists to win three Masters World Titles
Coached Cyclist to two Commonwealth Games Gold Medals
Coached Cyclist to one Elite World Championship 4th place
Created a legacy that saw Brent Dawson, Chris Pascoe, Trent Asimus, James Lago, Meagan Dunn and Tyler Puzicha competed at Junior World Championships while Darrell Wheeler, Graham Peadon and Vaughn Eather all competed at Masters World Championships.
In 2021 Australia elected not to send a team to the Junior World Championships due to Covid. However, Danny Barber, Dylan Eather, Haylee Fuller and Tyler Puzicha were all selected, which would have resulted in four Gus Dawson trained riders representing Australia on the World Stage at the one event.
Along with coaching protégé Vaughn Eather, Gus Dawson was club coach of Dubbo Cycle club when it was awarded the Australian Cycle Club of the Year award in 2019.
On reflecting on his coaching career Gus remarked “I just had that mindset of wanting to get one rider to junior nationals to bring in that competitive nature to our club and it has been pretty successful over the years,”.
Recognized for his talent and knowledge by Australian Cycling, Gus was asked to travel with National Teams as they competed at World Championships. Current US National Cycling Coach, Gary Sutton recounts Gus assisted in capacity as National manager/coach/mechanic at 10 Junior World Championships, in South Africa (twice), Athens, Moscow (twice), Slovenia, Belgium, Austria, Melbourne, Mexico. Traveling internationally, he met with Belgium cycling legends including Eddy Merckx and Patrick Sercu while locally was able to assist Australian cycling elite in Michael Mathews, Scott Sunderland, Danny Clark, Mark Renshaw and Amanda Spratt just to name a few. Such was Gus’s reach that, on receiving the Australian Cycling Club of the Year Trophy from Paris-Roubaix winner Mathew Hayman, then Club President Matthew Gilbert didn’t even get to shake hands before Hayman asked, ‘How’s Gus?”.
To most, it is the international acclaim that may be the mark of a man, however Gus was never as at home as when he was working with cyclists of all abilities and ages in Dubbo. A common site on the roads out of town was Gus on his motor scooter with a line of cyclists behind him. During winter the riders would gather at his house at 5am ready for a two hour ride in negative temperatures. Athletes would turn up ready to train before school or work and Gus would always be ready. Weekday afternoons and weekends would also be spent at the velodrome preparing cyclists. Gus’s primary focus was to ensure individuals to enjoy the sport. In an interview with the Western Region Academy of Sport, which Dawson also coached, he reflected “You have to have a balance as a junior, of course, you want to do well but cycling is one avenue of your life and I wanted all our cyclists to enjoy their lives with cycling just one aspect of that,” Dawson said. “That’s the good thing about building a great culture in the academy or at a club level, that if the athletes are all good friends, they want to come back and push each other to be better. Plus, as a coach, it makes it more enjoyable to see the cyclists having fun together,”.
This is a culture he developed across many years. There are countless people who have benefited from Gus’s wisdom, humor, passion and energy. Such is the legacy left behind that in coming weeks Gus Dawson coached cyclists will be competing at National and Oceania Championships, while many others will simply be going for a ride on a Saturday morning thanking Gus for what he has done for them.