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Jessi Combs, racing driver known as ‘the fastest woman on four wheels’ – obituary

Jessi Combs on the Discovery Channel show Overhaulin', which she co-presented
Jessi Combs on the Discovery Channel show Overhaulin', which she co-presented Credit: Phil McCarten/Reuters

Jessi Combs, who has died aged 39, was a television personality and racing driver known as “the fastest woman on four wheels”; she was killed in her jet-powered car in the Oregon desert while preparing for an attempt on the women’s world land speed record.

She was born Jessica Michelle Combs on July 27 1980 at Rockerville in South Dakota. Her father, Jamie Combs, taught her to drive as a young girl; her mother was called Nina Darrington; her great-grandmother, Nina DeBow, was a jazz pianist who raced steam-engine cars.

The family moved to Piedmont, South Dakota, when Jessi was two. After leaving school she moved to Denver, aiming at a career in snowboarding. When that did not work out, she turned...

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