Jessi Combs, known by fans as the “fastest woman on four wheels,” has died in a crash in Oregon’s Alvord Desert while trying to break a speed record.
Combs, 36, died Tuesday afternoon while racing in a dry lake bed in a desert in remote Harney County, sheriff’s Lt. Brian Needham said in a statement. The cause is under investigation.
Terry Madden, Combs’ teammate on the North American Eagle racing team, said in an Instagram post Wednesday that he was heartbroken and added a video collage of photos and video clips of Combs with various team members.
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So I don’t know how to say any of this but it all needs said. 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. 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-I made her a promise that if this didn’t go well that I would make sure and do good with it, please help me with that, you are all going to see things on news please believe non of them.. we the family have drafted a release and it will come out today with more proper info, but I was just woke up by the media tracking me down and I need everyone of her true friends to do what she would want “take a deep breath, relax” and do good things with this. Please donate to nothing, I know there will be people try, we are finishing the documentary as she wished and the world will know the truth and her foundation will use those funds to do amazing things in this world and make her legacy live on properly. In the coming days her family and I will get the proper channels put together that you can then donate to that foundation but until you hear it from me wait please-I don’t want some asshole profiting off this (all ready had one try to sell us a video)… . . 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.
Combs was widely known in the niche sport of jet-car racing and was attempting to break the Women’s Land Speed Record of 512 mph set in 1976 by Kitty O’Neil when she died.
She currently held the record as the fastest woman on four wheels — O’Neil piloted a three-wheeled vehicle — for a 398 mph performance in 2013 and had driven even faster in follow-up runs, but mechanical problems prevented those from making the record books.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, Combs indicated that she hoped to break O’Neil’s record in the Oregon desert.
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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 😉 . . . #fastestwomanonearth #almost #fasterthanfast #jetcar #afterburner #landpseed @landspeed763 #iwillgofaster #gottabreak512 #aimingfor619 #currentlyat483 #northamericaneagle #i❤️afterburners
In a statement, Combs’ family said her “most notable dream was being the fastest woman on Earth.”
Combs, who was born in Rapid City, South Dakota and lived in Long Beach, California, dabbled in snowboarding earlier in life and was also an accomplished artist and craftswoman, according to a biography on North American Eagle, her racing team.
She studied automotive design and fabrication and appeared as a host on Spike TV’s Extreme 4X4 before a freak accident with a piece of heavy machinery that broke her spine.
After months of rehabilitation, Combs recovered and appeared on and guest hosted a number of TV shows, including Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters” while honing her skills as a professional driver for movies and commercials.