There were four words that William Huibregtse told his son with the men's Little 500 almost two weeks away.
“Win this damn race.”
On April 7, William Huibregste passed away after a year-long fight with leukemia.
Less than a week later, Cutters junior Greg Huibregtse and the rest of his team did exactly what his father wanted them to do – win the 69th running of the men’s Little 500.
It was Cutters' second title in a row and its 14th overall, the most in Little 500 history.
“We wanted it not because we’re a competitive team, but we’re personally invested in this race,” Greg Huibregtse said. “It felt really good, just kind of like a really satisfying release of emotion trying to stay focused and stay fresh. We did what we wanted to do and just thinking about my dad and racing.”
Heading into the final lap of the race, Phi Kappa Psi had a healthy lead over Cutters and Black Key Bulls but elected to make an exchange. It was a move that surprised Cutters and people gasped and were confused by the decision in the stands.
After the race, Cutters riders said they heard the rider didn’t have the legs to finish the race and that’s why Phi Kappa Psi elected to swap out riders with the decent advantage over the pack.
“Phi Psi, we had them on our radar, but they just rode an amazing race and pushed us until the end,” Cutters Coach Jim Kirkham said. “Who knows why, but the race picked us again.”
That exchange gave Black Key Bulls senior Xavier Martinez and Cutters senior Noble Guyon an opportunity to catch up. Guyon was on the wheel of Martinez going around turn four but made his move heading into the final stretch.
With Bears also closing in, Guyon went around the right side of Martinez to cross the finish line.
“I was pretty surprised,” Guyon said. “If they didn’t exchange, we thought they would’ve had it. I was able to get on Xavier’s wheel and commit to waiting.”
Last year, Guyon was on the bike with 20 laps to go and won with a sprint at the end to edge out Gray Goat. It ended a six-year title drought for the program.
This year, he got on the bike with five laps remaining and sprinted his way to the end again against Martinez. Cutters only edged out Bears by less than three-tenths of a second.
“I had enough to get around him at the end and get him at the line,” Guyon said. “It was a really stressful final five laps.”
When Guyon finished the sprint and crossed the finish line, he told Huibregtse that the win was for his father.
“It’s been a really heavy week with the excitement of race day and losing a family member,” Guyon said. “We just wanted to support him all week and on race day. We really wanted to win it for his dad. We know he would’ve loved to have been here to watch him do it.”
Editors note: Noble Guyon has worked for the Indiana Daily Student.