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It was nearly a year ago that we learned the tragic news that Mythbusters’ Jessi Combs had died in a tragic accident at the young age of 39. The former TV star had been trying for a speed record at the time, hoping to break the female land-speed record in a jet-powered car. Now, her partner Terry Madden, has responded to the news Combs’ did, in fact, achieve her goal with a thoughtful post.
The journey to Jessi Combs achieving her land-speed record was a tough one. According to Terry Madden, while he’s touched her foray into the desert wasn’t for naught and is touched by her record, his feelings are honestly still really complicated regarding what happened.
I really don’t know how I feel about this at all as no record could ever be worth her not being here, 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 went on to talk a little more in depth about the day Jessi Combs achieved her record – the day she also died. Apparently, there were “a few things that were bothering” them in regards to the safety of her pursuit, but she ultimately decided to move forward. He also said, Jessi Combs had decided the race that won her the record would be her last, whether or not she had achieved her goal. He noted:
It has torn me apart that all I had to do is say let’s go and we would have left before that run, she asked my opinion and I told her Togo for it if it was what she wanted. That conversation has torn me apart everyday since the accident. On her final record run- the front wheel assembly failed and as she decelerated just past the end of the run, it came apart and went up into the electronics/mechanical bay behind her seat and caused the accident.
Ultimately, Jessi Combs ended up clocking in at 522.783, becoming the first to break the record in over 40 years, according to the Guinness World Records. In 1976, Kitty O’Neil had set the record with 512.7. You can see Terry Madden’s full post below.
Combs not only left behind a speed record, but also a fanbase who knew her from her memorable TV career. But it was Madden who is still keeping Combs in our minds and hearts a year later. Ultimately, he was very proud of her and while there are undoubtedly complicated feelings about her Guinness World Record, but it will hopefully become one more thing he will be able to remember about Jessi Combs, who died pursuing greatness. Her name will always be in the record books, but it certainly came at a cost.