Racer Jessi Combs dies attempting land speed record

Luke Bradshaw
Sports Writer
"Fastest woman on four wheels", Jessi Combs (Photo by James Lemke Jr/FilmMagic)

Professional racer Jessi Combs has died in a land speed record attempt after her car crashed in Harney County, Oregon.

The 39-year-old previously set the four-wheeled women’s land speed record in 2013 with an official speed of 398.954 mph and a top speed of 440.709 mph, breaking a record that had stood for nearly 50 years.

Racing at the same site in the Alvord desert as her previous record, Combs, who is known as the “fastest woman on four wheels”, admitted she was “crazy” to do the attempt in the first place.

Competing in the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger, a 56ft-long, 52,000-horsepower, jet-powered car, she posted videos in the build-up to the attempt.

One instagram post said: “It may seem a little crazy to walk directly into the line of fire... those who are willing, are those who achieve great things. People say I’m crazy. I say thank you.”

The details of the crash have not been released but a statement read: “Jessi’s most notable dream was to become the fastest woman on Earth, a dream she had been chasing since 2012,” the statement said. “Combs was one of the rare dreamers with the bravery to turn those possibilities into reality, and she left this earth driving faster than any other woman in history.“

Combs specialised in off-road motor racing, winning races like King of the Hammers – a form or racing that uses highly modified four-wheel-drive cars in races over large obstacles, often run in deserts.

As well as her career as a racing driver, Combs was a popular television personality, featuring on shows including All Girls Garage, Mythbusters, Overhaulin and Xtreme 4x4.

Her partner Terry Madden confirmed her death on Instagram. He said: “Unfortunately we lost her yesterday in a horrific accident, I was the first one there and trust me we did everything humanly possible to save her!! I’m not ok, but she is right here keeping my going.

“Love you all and thank you all for being such amazing friends to her, she dedicated her life to helping support others dreams and I promise I will continue that.”