Jessi Combs inspired racers, builders and enthusiasts across multiple genres of racing through her talent, strength, generosity of spirit, and fearlessness. She was not only an essential member of the community but a tireless advocate for bringing women into the sport. Following her death in a land speed racing crash, the Jessi Combs Foundation was started to “Educate, Inspire and Empower the next generation of female trailblazers & stereotype-breakers.”
One of the arms of the foundation is dedicated to empower racers with grant and event sponsorships, and with the support of Ultra4 Racing, the Jessi Combs Foundation will now be sponsoring a yearly entrant into the King of the Hammers. This year’s sponsored racer is relatively new racer Amber Turner, who will be competing in the 4600 stock class in the Everyman Challenge. Combs had repeatedly raced in the Everyman Challenge, so the sponsorship is also a form of tribute.
“It’s truly an honor to be recognized by The Jessi Combs Foundation to help further Jessi’s dream of empowering women,” says Turner. “This year I hope to bring car #468 across the finish line and prove that the underdog, a Suzuki Samurai, can successfully run the world’s hardest single day off-road race.”
Combs influence on Turner was profound. “Growing up, Jessi was the only ‘car girl’ that I had any exposure to. Watching someone who was like me thrive in an unorthodox environment encouraged me to pursue my own unorthodox interests; Automotive, welding, off-roading, and now racing. Jessi was one who had the courage to stand out and break the mold and in turn, inspired so many other women to do the same, myself included. Although I never developed a personal relationship with Jessi, I got the chance in 2017 to share with her just how she had changed my life, and how grateful I was for her prowess. I hope to one day inspire future generations to chase their dreams as fearlessly as Jessi did.”
In addition to the efforts from Ultra4, racer and Jessi Combs Foundation advisor Matt Howell and Tribe16 will be providing pre-running and race day support for Turner. “Tribe16’s dedication to the sport and proven reputation of building and racing highly competitive Ultra4 cars has been a key contributor to the success of multiple national championships and podium finishes in the most difficult off-road endurance races.”
“We had the honor of meeting Amber at last year’s KOH, when she stopped by our booth in her Suzuki Samurai to show off the hand painted JCF logo she had applied to the roof of her race car.” said Steve Elmes, Board Chair for The Jessi Combs Foundation. “We’ve continued our conversations with Amber over the past year and to say that she embodies the tenacity, passion, grit, spirit, positivity and pretty much everything we could hope to find in our first foray into sponsoring a racer would be an understatement.”
There’s no doubt that Jessi Combs would be proud.