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Mach 1 Review – ‘Karting’s newest contender’

Mach 1 Review – ‘Karting’s newest contender’

With the X30 engine dominating British karting last year along with it rose a chassis and team. This is the Mach 1 FIA5 presented by MLC Motorsport and it’s a kart that has taken the X30 class by storm with some of the nation’s best drivers going behind the wheel in 2016. So what’s all the fuss about? And where has it been hiding all this time?

Location: Whilton Mil (Karting magazine official test track)

On my arrival to Whilton Mill the first thing that hit me was the presentation of the kart. It’s very tidy looking, the silver, blue and red colours compliment each other very well and it’s pleasing on the eye.

Session 1

I started by purely dialing myself into the kart and track. I think sensible would the best way to sum up my first few laps, not going too hard on the brakes and staying away from kerbs, but then I started to become more comfortable and confident and that’s when I discovered the first thing that this kart brings to the table.

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Brakes

As I hurtled up to Christmas corner on lap 5 I had a wry smile on my face but then I hit the brakes and found the apex waving at me as I went past it. The same happened again going into the boot on laps 6 & 7. I was trying everything I could but I felt something wasn’t quite right so a quick pit stop was needed and a chat with MLC driver, Brett Ward.

As an ex racing driver I of course blamed the track and tyres but he told me how it was…

“The brakes are quite sharp on this kart. If you stamp on them too hard you’ll lock up and find yourself going straight on. It might take you a session or two to get used to but trust me once you hook it up you’ll love it.”

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Session 2

With that advice it was time to put my lid on and head straight back out. A slightly more gentle approach was applied to the brakes and all of a sudden the times started to tumble.

It was working better everywhere, Christmas corner, Ashby’s, Chapman’s and the boot! More importantly my confidence was growing and I started to feel at home in the seat.

I really felt in control of the kart and the lift I was getting off the inside rear tyre was sensational. You always know the rear wheel is lifting in a kart but with the Mach 1 you can physically feel it through your body. It’s a sense of control I’ve never felt before.

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Session 3

This time I purely concentrated on braking. Every time I came up to Christmas I was braking later and later yet I was exiting faster and faster. The best thing was I never felt out of control. The kart would always stay very straight and the front end of the kart was always very responsive allowing for the inside rear to lift easily.

The system in question is the ‘HRP EvoX brake system’ and it’s made in house by Mach 1. If I was racing, I’d buy one tomorrow I really fell in love with it.

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Chassis feel

So onto the chassis itself. The tubing material is CrMo-Steel and the main tubes come in at 30mm. The traversal tubes also measure at 30mm and the wheelbase is 1048mm.

I’ve driven many chassis including; Gillard, CRG, Zanardi, Jade, Haase, Octane and more. I can honestly say the Mach 1 offered a new feel to me better described as an ‘edge’.

I’ve never been a driver to use my body to shift weight around the kart (unless it was wet) but in the Mach 1 I found myself doing it for the first time. Following Brett Ward I noticed him really leaning into every corner so I brought it up with him after session 3.

‘I never used to lean into corners. When I drove the Kosmic I tended to keep myself very upright but that all changed after the first time I drove a Mach 1. I find the more I lean in with the chassis the more it gives me. That’s probably the aspect I like most about this kart. Try it going into corners, especially braking areas and you’ll feel the difference’

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Session 4 began….

I first tried it coming into Chapman’s. As I hit the anchor’s I started leaning into the corner and I felt the kart even more responsive then it was before. It made me feel very much in control I never had any huge signs of opposite lock. It may sound weird but it makes it a much more fun kart to drive and more unlikely to bring out any mistakes.

The change in driving style made the front end even more responsive all round the circuit but especially in the braking zones. It also kept the kart very balanced which is always a huge positive. Okay so sometimes it took a bit of input on the steering wheel but it was a cold day and I was asking a lot of the kart at times!

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Turns 1 and 2 are the most important corners at Whilton and the kart felt very solid over the kerbs. Never did it really unsettle itself it was always easy to control and that was the same for turns 7 and the first part of the boot.

Setup

One great aspect about this chassis is it’s ability to work the same on a wide range of setups. I didn’t change the setup once all day and even as the temperature got warmer and the track more grippy I didn’t feel the need to change anything and neither did Brett. Lee Murray (team boss) told me that this is the same for most tracks and that’s always great to have in a kart as it allows the driver more to concentrate on their driving. I felt tempted to try some stuff but there was really no need.

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Negatives

Now of course there are always negatives in every chassis. Mach 1 wanted this chassis to be perfect in the X30 classes as that has been the premier class in Germany for the last six years and they’ve clearly done a great job with that! It’s also had really good results in the KZ classes with Irish driver, John Norris doing a fantastic job last year. However, in the UK it doesn’t seem to be around too much in the Rotax class. That’s something I can’t explain given some it’s results around the World but for some reason it hasn’t quite taken off in that area yet. Personally I’d like to see a team take that responsibility on with MLC focusing on X30.

It’s other negative would be that it might not be for everyone. Certain drivers may not like the brakes and feel from the chassis and it may not be to everyone’s driving style. But I suppose that’s the same with every chassis.

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Fun fact

It’s the first chassis in the world to be computer modeled and simulated. They use the same technology as used in F1 and nearly ever component is made in house.

Price

£2495 +VAT complete with all parts needed.

Teams wanted!

MLC Motorsport are also on the hunt for agents and teams to sell the product with exclusive geographical areas

Tech details

Measures

  • Tubing material: CrMo-steel
  • Main tubes: 30mm
  • Traversal tubes: 30mm
  • Wheel base: 1048mm
  • Frame color: macadamia metallic
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If you’d like to contact MLC about the Mach 1 chassis click here

In the Box

  • KG FP7+Duo-Evo bodywork (white, black, red, blue)
  • Rear protector CIK/14 (black)
  • Mach1 Chromo decal kit
  • Magnesium rims DWT VLV 132/212
  • Seat HRP/IMAF
  • HRP EvoX brake system
  • Mach1 steering wheel 320mm (or 340mm)
  • Steering rod vario with excentrics
  • Sniper Adjuster for setting camber and caster
  • CNC-machined aluminium pedals
  • Chain guard KG closed
  • Exhaust holders

Options

  • Hand operated HRP front brakes
  • Foot rest Vario
  • Additional seat stays
  • Chain guard closed
  • Brake disc protection

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Tips

If you are going to be testing a Mach 1 for the first time my advice would be this. Ease yourself into it even if you are an experienced driver.

Put the brakes through their paces and see what their really capable of. This will help you in an overtaking situation during a race.

If you’re a driver who doesn’t tend to use your body to shift weight around the kart in the dry then definitely give it a go! Speaking to someone like Brett Ward (MLC driver) will be very worth while as this is one of the things he has changed since moving to the chassis.

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Summary

Overall my opinion of the Mach 1 chassis is very positive. I think it’s a great kart that allows for an aggressive driving style and the margin for error is quite large compared to some other chassis I’ve used in the past. The brakes are the best part for me and from what I hear from the team, it seems to be a hit amongst drivers. Their very strong making overtaking very possible at most corners. I never changed the setup once all day and I’ve been through four axles in one day at Whilton so for me that was positive. It certainly has an edge and offers something different to the table so if your looking to move chassis it’s certainly worth considering. And with that driver line up it has a very good chance at taking some major titles this year!

2016 National & European Team (MLC Motorsport)

Junior X30

Tom Douglas
Patrick Kibble
Louie Short
Jamie Lea Hawley
Jude Young

Senior X30

Brett Ward
Davey Shepherd
Gus Lawrence
Ollie Varney
Jonathan Williams
Rino Russo
Jack Cobourn

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Click here to find out more about Mach 1 and MLC Motorsport

Written by Chris McCarthy,  Photos by Jamie Morris

 

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