There are people with an amusing and definite need for speed. Jessi Combs had it too, but her need for speed was something else. Combs’ need was defined as 522 miles per hour. How did she do it? Let’s learn more about the so-called fastest woman on four wheels.
Jessi Combs set the women’s land speed class record in 2013. She then broke her record in 2016, earning her title, The Fastest Woman on Four Wheels. In 2019, she did a +522 MPH run, beating the Guinness World Record.
Who is Jessi Combs?
Jessi Combs was born in the Black Hills of South Dakota, near Rapid City. Combs developed a love for speed which led to her lifelong dream of becoming a race car driver. With a lifelong ambition to be a race car driver, this daring young lady developed an early interest in speed and its machines. (Source: Jessi Combs)
Her family was encouraging, supporting her deep passion for off-roading and other sorts of racing. Along with her interest in automotive, Jessi is a bit of an artist, spending as much time as possible creating things with her own hands. She is skilled at metals, leathercraft, and photography and is capable of creating almost anything.
After declining a full scholarship to a prominent interior design school, she traveled across North America before settling in Denver, Colorado, to pursue a career in snowboarding. This proved to be more physically taxing than she anticipated, and she decided to pursue a career that merged her passion for fast vehicles. (Source: Jessi Combs)
She traveled to Laramie, Wyoming, to attend WyoTech, where she majored in Collision/Refinishing, Chassis Fabrication, Street Rod Fabrication, and Trim/Upholstery. Combs graduated with a degree in Custom Automotive Fabrication.
While her intended professional path did not include being in TV, she appeared as a guest fabricator on Overhaulin’. She was quickly hired as co-host of Xtreme 4×4, doing 90 episodes in 4 years. They built everything from race trucks to street trucks, trail rigs, to trailers for a global audience.
Combs raced Ultra4’s King of the Hammers in 2010, 2012, and 2013, winning the spec class in 2014 as the first female to ever place at an Ultra4 event; she continued to race and won the National Championship to cap the season. Although completing the Baja 1000 is winning, taking home a class 10 podium finish in 2011 is a true highlight of her racing career.
Jessi was added to the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger team for the 2013 attempt to break Kitty O’neil’s 1976 Women’s Landspeed World Record of 512 mph. To date, Jessi is the fastest woman on four wheels, holding a record of 398 mph with a top speed of 440 mph.
Combs competed in the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles in 2015, a nine-day all-female rally competition that relies solely on 1960 hand-drawn maps and a compass; they finished tenth overall and first in the First Participation category. The Race of Gentlemen, hosted by the venerable Oilers car club, invited Jessi to compete in their carnival event as the first female competitor.
Unfortunately, Combs died on August 27, 2019, after a car crash in Oregon. (Source: Jessi Combs)
The Infamous 2019 Car Crash
On August 27, 2019, Combs and her team set out to beat the land speed record in the Alvord Desert in Oregon.
Combs piloted the North American Eagle, a 56-foot-long jet-like vehicle with a top speed of over 45,500 mph. Her jet-powered car set a new speed record of 522.783 mph. Combs was the first to break the Guinness Book of World Records since it was established over forty years ago.
According to evidence collected and examined at the scene of the crash and evidence recovered by the North American Race Team, it appears that there was a mechanical problem on the front wheel, most likely due to contact with an object in the desert. The failure of the front wheel resulted in the front wheel assembly collapsing. (Source: USA Today)