Not a regular racegoer any more, Beryl Dawson will make a rare appearance to Albion Park on Friday evening for a special evening to celebrate her family’s contribution to the code of harness racing.
Now into her late 80s, Beryl will watch on proudly as the first running of the John and Beryl Legacy Pace is held, with the race featuring only drivers from the Dawson and McMullen families and their partners.
The feature event will honour the 20-year anniversary of John’s passing and to recognise the influence John and Beryl have on today’s harness racing industry.
The family patriarch, John Dawson, passed away on Christmas Eve 2002.
Trent Dawson, Nathan Dawson, Kelli Dawson, Pete McMullen and his wife Chantal, Narissa McMullen, Taleah McMullen and Danielle Veivers (nee McMullen) will compete in the inaugural running of the race.
Trent Dawson instigated the new race to celebrate his grandparents enormous contribution to harness racing in the Sunshine State.
While Beryl is no longer a frequent visitor of tracks around South East Queensland to watch her grandchildren in person, Trent says she does not miss watching many races from Albion Park, Redcliffe or Marburg on television.
“She follows everything and is sharp as a tack with it all,” Trent said of his grandmother’s keen interest in the code.
“Grandma Beryl knows when everyone is racing, when they are driving winners or where they finish in their races or if they are serving a suspension.
“For her age, she is sharp and is still heavily involved with the CWA (Country Women’s Association).
“It is important to remember my grandfather’s legacy after his passing, but it is also equally as important to remember my grandmother’s legacy as well, while she is still alive.”
Dawson and McMullen participants are regular premiership winners on top of being competitive in Group races throughout Queensland as well as travelling their pacers and trotters interstate for higher honours.
Beryl Dawson’s daughter – Jennette McMullen – says there is not a prouder person than her mother watching on as her grandchildren continue to rack up milestones in the sport.
“Beryl gets a great thrill out of their achievements,” Jennette said in a Racing Queensland story in 2019.
“Her life revolves around the Sky Channel following the Dawson-McMullen clan.”
The 36-year-old Trent is keen to see his grandmother at Albion Park on Friday night to enjoy the experience in person.
“She is really excited about being there on Friday and she is really looking forward to it,” Trent said.
“She is quite active for a person in her late 80s.
“She does not come to the track to watch the races very often but whenever you go to her place, she has the racing station always on TV, I think it is her favourite station.”