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April 2024 (G.T.) – Valerio Bonienters the Guinness World Records, beating his previous best, after 45 years, covering 1,233 kilometres in 24 hours on a Vespa at the Terramar circuit at Sitges in Spain. Valerio Boni was supported by Denys Maiorino's Epoca Motors team . Congratulations to everyone for the great teamwork.”

Winning team: On 6-7 March 2024, Valerio Boni and the team behind the exploit at the historic Autodromo de Sitges-Terramar (Sant Pere de Ribes, Barcelona, Spain), which opened in 1923.

This post was published in the early hours of 7 March 2024 on the Facebook page of journalist and writer Paola Scarsi, the author of 'La prima Vespa non si scorda mai' ('You never forget your first Vespa'), as found on the following link: An exciting account offering over 60 testimonials from Vespisti; two chapters are dedicated to Valerio Boni and Denys Maiorino, who recently met at Paola's book launch in Milan.


Valerio Boni, a journalist and motoring record specialist certified by Guinness World Records, logged 940.118 non-stop kilometres on his Vespa 50 Special at the Pirelli track in Vizzola Ticino in 1979, as recorded by the timekeepers. However, they forgot to send in the homologation documentation, later discovering that an Australian held the record with 928 km.

Cover and article from that period in Tuttovespa magazine, sourced from Valerio Boni's archive.

The 1979 achievement, from the Valerio Boni archive.

Valerio writes in Scarsi's book, “The only solution was to attempt the record again... but I was 20 years old then; today, I am 64...” Yet, his determination is undimmed, like the Vespa 50 Special (beautifully restored): together, they have reclaimed the record, surpassing themselves and the Australian. Many Italian and international media outlets have reported in detail on this remarkable achievement.

In 2015, the restoration of the Vespa 50 and the track test by Valerio Boni with refuelling on the move (photo courtesy).


How did you prepare for the performance?
“Like the other five records, I meticulously managed all details, overlooking nothing (starting with the presence of pairs of witnesses alternating every four hours) essential for achieving the Guinness certification. This task is time-consuming and begins with selecting the ideal track, also considering the costs, which for a 24-hour rental can amount to tens of thousands of euros. In this instance, I was fortunate because Terramar's manager offered it for free, being as captivated by the project as I was by the circuit. On the other hand, I Fin did nothing special on this occasion regarding physical preparation. I've been riding for 50 years and spending many hours in the saddle doesn't bother me. I just took a valerian tablet the night before to ensure I slept better. That's all.”

Valerio Boni on the track during the challenge (photo courtesy).

How is the Vespa refuelled?
The on-the-move refuelling operations used the same system as in 1979. I didn't invent it; I merely replicated what Piaggio sent me at the time, which their experience department produced. The solution simply exploits the laws of physics to accelerate the transfer of the petrol-oil mixture from the jerrycan to the tank.

Refuelling on the move (photo courtesy).

Two tubes go into the jerrycan: one is a longer, larger-diameter tube that draws from the bottom, and the other is a shorter, thinner tube positioned on the cap. By blowing into the latter, pressure builds inside the jerrycan, allowing you to transfer within seconds the approximately four litres needed to refill the tank. The passenger of the support Vespa PX holds the jerrycan. At the same time, I move from the saddle to the luggage rack, loosen the cap, open the tank, insert the longer hose, and signal that refuelling can begin. Once this is complete, I remove the tube, close the cap, return to the saddle, and resume riding.” 

Are stops planned in this type of endurance test?
“Normally, in 24-hour attempts, Guinness puts no limit on the number of stops, although it is obvious that each time you stop, the average speed decreases inexorably. However, in this instance, I aimed to repeat my 1979 attempt on the Pirelli track at Vizzola Ticino similarly. I knew I was 45 years older than when I was 20. However, in the meantime, I have gained significant experience over long distances. All refuelling occurred on the move, and I had two quick meals: one comprising energy bars and the other a ham sandwich; without ever resorting to caffeine or energy drinks, just a couple of small bottles of chinotto soft drink.

Only 20 minutes stop in 24 hours (photo courtesy).

Unfortunately, I could not stay in the saddle non-stop for 24 hours because night fog and dust irritated my right eye, and I couldn't keep it open. I stopped for about twenty minutes, just long enough to rinse it with eye drops, and then I set off again. And I would add a detail that piques everyone's curiosity: physiological needs. To this end, I must start with an anecdote from 1979: I had decided to use nappies, but as they were uncomfortable, I asked my then-girlfriend to go to the chemist to buy more effective ones. When she walked in, the pharmacist asked her, 'How many months old is your baby?' She came out with a pack of night nappies for nine-month-old babies, as that was all that existed then. I wore two of them and set off on my 24-hour challenge. 'Today, there are options for adults that are less bulky and more protective.”

Mission accomplished! Documentation sent to London for certification of the record (photo courtesy).

Rècord mundial de quilòmetres en pista- Autòdrom Terramar - Official video:

Any other previous Vespa exploits to mention?
It depends on what you consider an exploit. I have travelled many kilometres, that’s true. I can say that when my first Vespa, a 50 R, was stolen in 1978, after about two years, the odometer registered over 50,000 km. I have also tackled various trips in Europe, simply for tourism, with PX 125s and 150s. Also, after completing the restoration of my 50 Special I took part in the VWD in St. Tropez, but I certainly can't consider it an exploit. However, I fondly recall an event from August 1983 when MotoSprint magazine organised a 24-hour comparative test featuring the 13 most significant 125 cc road bikes of that era at the Mugello circuit. All the best models were there, and the start was Le Mans style, with the bikes lined up on one side of the start straight and the riders on the other. My task was to start on the Vespa PX. I executed a perfect start, adeptly combining running, starting, and sprinting. At the start, I gained such an advantage that I led the pack down the straight towards the San Donato turn despite the others riding much more powerful road bikes. Eventually, they overtook me, but I still remember that start.”

The news of the world record on the Terramar Autodrome website:

Do you have other Vespa challenges in mind?
I have made no plans yet, but I'm quite open about my desire to recreate some of the more usual feats of the past, like the trip from Paris to London, including crossing the English Channel by sea, just as one example.”

How does it feel to enter the Guinness World Records?
The first time was incredibly thrilling, especially since the official approval came almost a year after the event, owing to a series of problems. The biggest issue was the missing first 15 minutes of the 24-hour continuous recording. However, I eventually resolved the problem by collecting videos captured on smartphones by people who were there. You get accustomed to it, but I try to ensure that each record (this one with the Vespa being the sixth in my collection) isn't just about setting a record but links to a story that provides the right motivation. And this one truly provided a wealth of inspiration.”

Final comments and supporters to thank...
“I had unfinished business with this challenge and I've now settled it. I am delighted that the 45 years that have passed had no impact because, at the end of the ride, neither the Vespa nor I felt any worse for wear. Once again, I was fortunate to have the support of a team entirely up to the challenge. An international team, including Denys Maiorino, also known as the Vespa Boss, from Epoca Motors with mechanics Simone and Gianluca, alongside Spaniards Ivo Viscasillas and Cristian Noguera, specialists in Vespa endurance racing. Like me, they didn't sleep a wink and managed all the air-to-air refuelling. I am also grateful to Tiziana, my partner who accompanied me on the journey, and to my colleague Begoña Morillo, who promised to be there and made the journey by car from Madrid to Terramar to do so. And, of course, I am thankful to everyone who helped make this adventure possible: Cogep, SAF Group road transport, Kappa Ponteggi and Galfer. Nor can I forget my colleague Paola Scarsi, who is indirectly 'responsible' for what happened. The meeting with Denys occurred during the Milanese launch of her book 'La prima Vespa non si scorda mai'. We were strangers, but a simple 'let's talk about it' was all it took to set the wheels in motion for the organisation of this record within just a few weeks.”

Frame from the GoTV Channel video – The Vespa boss/Denys Maiorino: