When she had her foot to the pedal there was simply no catching Jessi Combs. Dubbed as the fastest woman on four wheels, Combs was one of the best female racers and few matched her level. She held the women’s land speed class record (four wheels) in 2013 and broke her own record in 2016. Wanting to better her 2016 record, Combs took to the road in 2019 but unfortunately lost her life in the process. In this article, we will take a closer look at the legacy of Jessi Combs.
Jessi Combs was born on the 27th of June 1980 in Rockerville, South Dakota. Born to Jamie Combs and Nina Darrington, Jessie moved to Piedmont, South Dakota, when she was two years old. Raised in a large household, Jessie had three siblings, Kelly Combs, Austin Darrington, Danielle Theis, and two stepsiblings, Rebekah Hall and Arielle Hall.
As far as academia goes, Jessi graduated from Stevens High School in 1998. She continued her education in WyoTech and was a part of Collision & Refinishing Core Program, the Street Rod Fabrication and Custom Fabrication, and High-Performance Powertrain programs. After graduating in 2004, Jessi was invited by Wyo Tech to work on a car from the ground-up to be presented in six months at the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association’s (SEMA) show.
Life as a racer:
After working for Wyo Tech, Jessie’s love for cars and roads only grew and she was soon racing in Grand Prix. In an illustrious career that spanned over half-a-decade, Jessie managed to win several awards. She made her racing debut in 2011 at the SCORE Baja 1000 – Class 10 and won second place.
On October 9, 2013, Jessie set the women’s 4-wheel land speed record with an official run of 398.954 mph (632 km/h) and a top speed of 440.709 mph (709 km/h). She bettered her own record on September 7, 2016, by achieving a new top speed of 477.59 mph (768.61 km/h). Her first win came in 2014 when Jessie bagged the first position in the Legends Class race of Ultra 4 Stampede. She also managed to win the Ultra 4 King of the Hammers, Ultra 4 National Championship, and Ultra 4 Western Region Serie. The last time Jessie took on the track was in 2017 when she ranked 12th in Ultra 4 King of the Hammers 4400 class.
Her love for cars brought Jessie worldwide acclaim and fame. Back in early 2004, Jessie hosted SpikeTV television show Xtreme 4×4 and was a part of the Powerblock. She also made a brief appearance in MythBusters in 2009. Jessie also worked on the series, The List: 1001 Car Things To Do Before You Die in 2011 and was a part of All Girls Garage from 2011 to 2014.
Accident and Death:
On August 27, 2019, Jessie set out to better her land speed record as part of the North American Eagle Project. She was on a dry lake bed in the Alvord Desert, Oregon, when the crash occurred. It was later revealed that the front wheel assembly had collapsed when the car was cranked up to the top speed of 522.783 mph (841.338 km/h). Following her death, her family released a statement asking for privacy and prayers.
“Jessi’s bright smile, positivity, and tenacious pursuit of her dreams inspired everyone who met her. Her drive and spirit were infectious, and she served as a role model for young girls and women around the world. Surounded by her family and friends at the time of her passing, Jessi lived fearlessly and her legacy lives on in the countless lives she touched..”
Sharing about her personal life, Jessi Combs was rumored to have married Ian Johnson. The pair shared the TV screen as the co-host of reality show Xtreme 4×4. However, after her relationship ended with Ian, Jessi is known to have dated Terry Madden. After her death, Terry was heartbroken and expressed his grief through several social media posts.