Longest journey on a 50 cc scooter set Guinness record - Zephyrhills man

Charlie Salvatore begins his ride Tuesday in Zephyrhills as he attempts to break a Guiness world record and raise money and awareness for the American Liver Foundation.

ZEPHYRHILLS - Charles Salvatore hugged his family and said goodbye.

As he motored out of Zephyrhills on a new Keeway Matrix scooter, Salvatore was followed by about 20 bikers and at least one Zephyrhills Police car – all there to help him start his journey safely.
Salvatore, 24, hopes the scooter's 50 cc engine helps get him to New Orleans today. If he can travel the distance of just more than 600 miles in less than 24 hours, he could break a Guinness World Record.

The trip will not end in New Orleans.

From there, he plans to go to Houston – then, north to South Dakota, and through Montana and Canada to Alaska. It's a more than 5,600-mile trip. If he makes it, that could be another Guinness record for the longest journey on a 50 cc scooter.

But Salvatore isn't making the ride just to try and establish records.

Off the Alaska coast near Sterling, he plans to scatter the ashes of his mother's fiancé, Richard Cooper, who died at 50 last year of liver failure. Along the way, he hopes to raise awareness, and money, for the American Liver Foundation, which faces a shrinking budget.

At 300 pounds or so, Salvatore outweighs his scooter by about 100 pounds. He said he has gotten the Keeway up to about 55 mph, but it averages about 45 mph.
He plans to take major highways.

"I'm a little worried" about the trip, Salvatore said Tuesday morning. "I have a GPS hook-up and a basket we've rigged onto the back (of the scooter) and an outlet on here to charge anything."

The adventure is expected to last at least 25 days. Salvatore's journey is sponsored by Zephyrhills Water, Affordable Motor Sports and New Walk Church, all in Zephyrhills.

Mike Semmig, owner of Affordable Motor Sports, said Salvatore, who also rides a 1988 Harley-Davidson Sportster, is a faithful customer.

"We're going to basically be a liaison for technical support and parts," Semmig said. "Basically, anything he needs."

While the scooter will not be able to maintain 55 mph – let alone 70 mph, the speed limit for long stretches through Florida – Semmig said Salvatore's scooter "is the one you'd want to (make the trip) on."

"Usually, people just get these for riding around town or the neighborhood, or to take the back roads down to Tampa," he said. "But he has it good and broken in now."

Besides the GPS system, Salvatore has had a video camera mounted on the scooter so he can document the ride for Guinness.

Salvatore has been planning the trip for months. He said he has researched the weather and can only hope that it stays warm. He has enough money for a few overnight hotel stays and said he will camp when he has to.

Along his route, he hopes to generate media interest so people might be inspired to donate money for the Liver Foundation when he stops.

Several of the bikers who saw Salvatore out of town Tuesday are members of Southern Cruisers Riding Club.

Herbert Bell of Land O' lakes said he recently saw an episode of "Orange County Choppers," where a group of riders drove across the country on scooters.

Bell thinks Salvatore's chances of completing the journey are "pretty good."
Michael Leduc of Canada, a part-time Dade City resident, is a motorcycle rider, but used to drive a 50 cc scooter, as well.

"To try and go to Alaska is mind-boggling," Leduc said. "I wouldn't try it on a 50 cc, believe me. If he's hearty, yes, he can make it. I hope he has his trip planned out. On a major highway like I-75, you can get kind of lost in traffic."
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