When looking back on last year’s Little 500 men’s race, the majority of the field was surprisingly young, outside of BKB’s veteran-led lineup. This year, all those young riders are back with experience.
It makes for a more of a veteran feel to this year’s race, with four teams returning four riders with race experience, and five additional teams returning three riders with race experience. Should all of those teams qualify (and our guess is they will), that means 27 percent of the starting grid on race day will be made up of teams with at least three riders with returning race experience.
Here’s a look at the men’s teams with the most returning riders and the most race experience.
With all four riders back from last year’s race team, Forest brings an impressive nine years of combined race experience into this year’s Little 500 season. Three of its riders all have at least two years of race experience entering the upcoming race. Seniors Robert Henderson and Austin Portolese both have three years of race experience, joining six other riders in this year’s field who can say the same thing. Kyle Swain has two years of Little 500 race experience, and Richard Dixon has one for this team made up entirely of seniors.
With Quals coming up this Saturday, we decided to take a look at which teams return the most Little 500 experience, and which teams return a majority of their riders from last year.
While race experience isn’t everything, it certainly helps. And being familiar with your teammates certainly helps on Qualifications day, when the most important thing is your ability to exchange cleanly. Teams who have worked on exchanges together for years tend to have an advantage there.
So, without further ado, here’s a look at the most experienced Little 500 teams for 2015.
This independent team has five riders on its roster who have race experience, making it by far the most experienced team in the field. The five, consisting of Julie Daugherty, Fallon Lilly, Rose Mullaney, Elizabeth Murzyn and Katie Reynolds boast a combined eight years of Little 500 race experience coming into this season. Mullaney is one of the most experienced riders in the field, with three years of race experience. She’s one of just three racers in the women’s field with three years experience. Reynolds, also a senior, has two, while the other three each have one year of race experience.
While I’m no longer in Bloomington, it doesn’t mean this site can’t still live on. Several of you on here are passionate about Little 500 from a distance, and I’m included in that group now, too.
I’ll still try to deliver the highest quality content I can (and yes, I’m planning to be back in Bloomington in April), but I also know several people are looking for a site just to talk about the teams and riders and what’s going on. I want that to be here at 33to1.
So, while I won’t be live tweeting or regularly posting updates from this weekend’s events in all likelihood, feel free to use this post to share thoughts and results on the Fall Cycling Series.
For those unaware, there are ITTs going on at Bill Armstrong Stadium on Friday night, Street Sprints on Kirkwood on Saturday afternoon and Cyclocross Sunday afternoon in the tailgate fields. For a full entry list of contestants, visit the IUSF site here.
After teams exchanged the lead all afternoon and a group of 10 teams were in contention for the title midway through the Little 500, the field whittled down to seven with two laps to go.
Black Key Bulls, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Phi Delta Theta, Delta Tau Delta, Beta Theta Pi, Cutters and Sigma Chi had escaped the field and had formed a small peloton. They were preparing for a sprint finish. It was lap 199.
As they rounded turn three, though, Beta Theta Pi’s Chris Craig slid out. The crash took out six of the seven competing teams. Only Black Key Bulls escaped unharmed.
And after one lap under a yellow flag, Black Key Bulls was able to race the final lap unthreatened, crossing the checkered flag alone for its first-ever title in nine races.
Below are the full results from the 64th men’s Little 500: