The Cutters made Little 500 history Saturday.
Battling cold and wet conditions, the Cutters outlasted a field of 33 teams on the way to their record ninth championship, becoming the first team to repeat as champions at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Delta Chi was the last team to repeat, winning three straight titles from 1979-1981.
“We had targets on our back all day,” Cutters senior Paul Sigfusson said. “Nine championships says something in itself. Then to repeat as champions on this track – it’s never been done – is a whole other story. I have no words for that. Two rings in two years is something else.”
Four teams challenged the Cutters throughout the whole race, but around lap 180, the Cutters broke away from the pack and never looked back.
“Everyone else was hurting so bad those last laps,” Sigfusson said. “You could feel that on the bike. You could hear them breathing, you could feel that they were dropping off the back, and as soon as we saw an opportunity we just gunned it off the front and it held up.”
The Cutters’ unofficial time of 2:10:00 left them 22 seconds ahead of the closest competition. This year’s finish sharply contrasted last year’s, when the Cutters won a five-team sprint to the finish on the final lap.
“We had no doubt on (lap) 197,” Sigfusson said. “Last year on 197, we had doubt. It feels good to win that way. You don’t see too many races won that way, but that shows the strength of these guys.”
The race for second place came down to the wire with Team Major Taylor edging Dodds House, Alpha Tau Omega and Phi Kappa Psi, in that order, unofficially.
“It was a good finish,” Team Major Taylor senior Ali Camara said. “I think we kind of unraveled around lap 180. You cannot take anything away from the Cutters, they were hands down the strongest team.”
Alpha Tau Omega came all the way from its 26th qualifying position to finish in fourth place unofficially.
“We were never mentioned to get top five, so it is just great to be able to do it,” junior Robert Perez said. “Next year, we will get a lot more respect on the track.”
The Cutters’ ninth title puts them one ahead of Delta Chi for the most Little 500 wins.
“To say you rode for the all-time winningest team in Little 500 history is just something words can’t describe,” senior Erik Hamilton said.
For seniors Sigfusson and Sasha Land, this was their second straight victory.
“I really can’t put it into words,” Land said. “It’s too much. It’s a little overwhelming how amazing this experience has been.”
For Hamilton, though, it was his first year riding for the Cutters. Hamilton used to ride for Cinzano, but switched to Cutters.
“This was my last shot,” he said. “I sat out last year for this opportunity.”
Junior Clayton Feldman, who rode in his first race this year, said it was great for the seniors to finish their careers with a victory.
“Sending these guys out with a win is amazing,” he said. “It’s amazing riding with these guys, because you know you’re riding with guys people will talk about for a long time.”
IDS reporters Greg Rosenstein and Michael Sanserino contributed to this report.