Jessi Combs: 1980-2019
Racer, Fabricator, and TV Personality Killed Attempting Land-Speed Record
Jessi Combs—vehicle fabricator, TV personality, and all-around good human—died attempting to break her own land-speed record on August 27 in the Alvord Desert. She was 39.
Jessi is the current "fastest woman on four wheels" record holder, thanks to her two-way average 393 mph run in 2013. She broke that record in the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger after joining the land speed team the same year. Last year, she achieved a 483-mph shakedown before a mechanical failure ended the run.
Jessi Combs has also raced extensively and remained connected with the truck and off-road industry throughout her career. She was a spokesperson for WARN Industries, frequently appearing at the company's events and signing autographs. Last year, Jessi was a guest on a SEMA panel—moderated by Jay "Lightning" Tilles—with Gale Banks, Aaron Kaufman, and Sean P. Holman.
Earlier in her career, she co-hosted Xtreme 4x4 on Spike TV, and she raced at King of the Hammers in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017, taking home the Spec class win in 2014. Jessi Combs also raced in the Baja 1000, most recently in 2017 under the ethos "iron(wo)man". She also attended Four Wheeler's Top Truck Challenge.
Jessi was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1980. She briefly pursued a career in Colorado as a professional snowboarder before relocating to Laramie, Wyoming, to attend WyoTech. There, she studied collision/refinishing and fabrication, graduating in the top of her class with a degree in custom automotive fabrication. From there, her skills took her to the Specialty Equipment Market Association, where she was employed by the marketing team to help build custom vehicles for charity.
Her death was confirmed on Instagram by teammate Terry Madden, who reported that she died in a "horrific accident" in the land-speed vehicle. As one of the most influential people in motorsports, Jessi Combs will be dearly missed.
Source: Instagram, Jalopnik, North American Eagle, and KTVZ News Channel 21