HARNEY COUNTY, Ore. — Jet-car racer Jessi Combs, who died last summer in Oregon while trying to beat a land speed record, has posthumously become The World's Fastest Woman, according to Guinness World Records.
"The fastest land speed record (female) is 841.338 kph (522.783 mph), and was achieved by Jessi Combs (USA) in the Alvord Desert, Oregon, USA, on 27 August 2019," the Guinness announcement reads. "Jessi is the first person to break this record in more than 40 years."
Combs, 39, was driving her famed North American Eagle, a 56-foot-long jet-powered car, when she died. Her goal was to top the current women's land speed record of 512.7 miles an hour.
And now it's official: She shattered the record that Kitty O'Neil had set in the Alvord Desert in 1976.
In an Instagram post just before her death, Combs made it clear that was her intention.
"It may seem a little crazy to walk directly into the line of fire ... those who are willing, are those who achieve great things," she said. "People say I’m crazy. I say thank you ;)"
During her attempt, it appears there was a mechanical failure of the front wheel, most likely caused from striking an object on the desert, according to the Harney County Sheriff’s Office. The front wheel failure led to the collapse of the front wheel assembly, and it happened at more than 500 mph.
Combs, who was also known as a guest host on “Mythbusters,” was an inspiration was for the racing community in Oregon and throughout the world.
Combs earned the nickname "fastest woman on four wheels" after setting a record of 398 mph in her jet-powered North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger in 2013. She had attempted to beat that record in 2018, when she managed to get to speeds of 483 mph, but a mechanical error ended the attempt early.
The Alvord Desert is in a remote area of southeastern Oregon, about 400 miles southeast of Portland.
(Note: The video included in this story originally aired Aug. 28, 2019)