File picture: Phil McCarten / Reuters.
File picture: Phil McCarten / Reuters.

'Fastest woman on four wheels' killed during record attempt

By Chuck Schilken Time of article published Aug 29, 2019

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Los Angeles - Professional driver and TV personality Jessi Combs died in a crash on Tuesday while trying to break her own land speed record, according to multiple reports. She was 36.

Combs' North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger team-mate Terry Madden confirmed on Instagram on Wednesday that "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!!" Madden wrote of the crash that occurred around 4pm in the Alvord Desert in southeast Oregon.

Madden wrote: "I have never loved or been loved by anyone as much as this amazing woman @thejessicombs she was truly my unicorn and I enjoyed every single minute that I had with her. She was the most amazing spirit that I have ever or will ever know."

In 2013, Combs became known as "the fastest woman on four wheels" after driving her jet-powered North American Eagle to a speed of 640km/h. According to Popular Mechanics, Combs has hit 777km/h in the same vehicle and was attempting to set a new land speed record at the time of the fatal crash.

In a social media post Saturday, Combs shared a photo of herself walking toward a jet car along with the caption: "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 ;)"

Motorcycle rider Valerie Thompson, known as "the fastest woman on two wheels," tweeted on Wednesday: "This hits home for me. Godspeed, Jessi Combs."

Combs was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, and based out of Long Beach, California, at the time of her death. She graduated from WyoTech in Laramie, Wyoming, with a degree in custom automotive fabrication and later became co-host of "Xtreme 4x4" on Spike TV.

She left the show in 2008, soon after suffering a serious spine injury on set, but continued to make appearances on numerous shows, including the Discovery Channel's "Mythbusters."

"She was a brilliant & top-notch builder, engineer, driver, fabricator, and science communicator, & strove everyday to encourage others by her prodigious example," former "Mythbusters" co-host Adam Savage tweeted. "She was also a colleague, and we are lesser for her absence.

In this file photo, Jessi Combs drops into the final chute before the finish line of the Smitty Built Everyman's Challenge Race of the King of the Hammers in Lucerne Valley, California. Picture: James Quigg/The Daily Press via AP.

Los Angeles Times via tca/dpa

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