The American race car driver Jessi Combs has posthumously been awarded the fastest land speed record for a woman by Guinness World Records, a feat she died trying to achieve last year.
The South Dakota native, a popular TV personality and host of the Motor Trend series All Girls Garage, was killed in an August 2019 crash after reaching a speed of 522.783mph (841.338kph) in a jet-powered car on the Alvord Desert, a dry lake bed in south-eastern Oregon. She was 39.
Guinness said Combs broke the previous record of 510.7mph set by stuntwoman Kitty O’Neil in 1976 and noted she was the first woman to even attempt O’Neil’s mark in more than 40 years.
After starting her career as a builder of hot-rod cars, Combs was seen on television in a number of auto shows, including Overhaulin’, Truck U, MythBusters.
Combs’ close friend and teammate Terry Madden said omn Instagram that he was not sure how he felt about the achievement, as “no record could ever be worth her not being here”.
He added: “But it was a goal that she really wanted – and as hard as it is for me to even look at the car without crying. I’m so proud of her,” he added. “She woke up that morning to an alarm saying ‘let’s make history’ and we had an absolutely amazing day.”
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