The man known as Crazy Horse, who became a 1970’s household name for stunt driving of large trailer trucks and sports cars, and riding motorcycles with just one foot, has died.
Daredevil performer Dorian Cumberbatch, 73, died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) last Wednesday night.
“Many people were amazed by his abilities. He lived a life and a half. My father married, divorced, he did a lot of travelling. He travelled throughout the Caribbean and all over the world. He sailed boats, and drove race cars. He was always in control.
“He spent his whole life as a truck driver. He was driving truck up to October last year when he was 72. My father is one person who can say he enjoyed his life to the fullest, he did some of everything,” son Hayden Alleyne told Barbados TODAY at the family’s Taylor’s Land, Bank Hall, St Michael workshop and home.
About three years ago, Alleyne’s father received surgery to remove an abscess from his rectum, he said. But before long it returned, causing Cumberbatch great pain.
Two months ago that Cumberbatch was diagnosed with rectal cancer. Alleyne said his father received chemotherapy and radiation and was soon due to have surgery to remove the tumour.
After relatives noticed a change in behaviour, they took him to the QEH on Monday where he remained until his death.
One of Cumberbatch’s closest friends, attorney-at-law and social activist Robert Bobby Clarke told Barbados TODAY that Cumberbatch was a legend in his own right.
The two met in 1970 when Cumberbatch, an amputee with a broken hand, faced a charge of causing his friend’s death by dangerous driving, when his car crashed into an oncoming vehicle on a west coast road.
“His friend died on the spot. He was then charged for the manslaughter of his friend. We fought the case and he was found not guilty, and we became close friends from there on,” Clarke said.
Cumberbatch earned the nickname Crazy Horse from his motorcycle riding styles, said Clarke.
“During the years Crazy never changed his lifestyle; he was always a happy-go-lucky person. When he got his first truck, he drove that truck like it was on a race track.
“He drive those trucks with a broken left hand and one foot, and changed gears by just listening to the sound of the truck’s engine. He did that from 1970 until about two months ago when he stopped driving,” Clarke recalled.
Over the years, Cumberbatch became a mechanic, repairing his own trucks.
Clarke paid tribute to Cumberbatch’s offer to repair vehicles in Grenada, during the 1979-1983 Maurice Bishop-led revolution.
“He went down and he stayed for more than a year just repairing. He had no salary structure, no wages, he just did it, and he became very friendly with Maurice at that time. I lived down there for three years, and ‘Crazy’ lived down there for a year just to help Grenada,” he said.
The social activist recalled Cumberbatch’s stunt driving skills were put to humorous service in 1973 at the height of the tumultuous Black Power Movement era when Clarke held a meeting at his Grazettes, St Michael home, for fellow black revolutionaries from across the Caribbean, in which Bishop was in attendance.
Clarke said that as Police were outside monitoring the meeting, the decision was made for Cumberbatch to drive the car to a pasture in St Peter.
“We went in the middle of the pasture and held the meeting, while two Police cars [were] parked on the road. After about an hour of the meeting, we left to go back to my home in Grazettes.
Clarke continued: “And while driving along the road in Heywoods, when we moved off from the pasture, the two Police cars moved off behind us . . . Crazy then said to me, ‘tell me when’.
“I said, ‘when’ and Crazy was down on the gas and moved off at this speed.. two police cars followed. Crazy was driving on the beach side of the road…”
Clarke said that story ended with the two police cars ending up in the sea.
“Then we went home and continued with the meeting because there was no police to watch us. That is part of the connection with Crazy.”
Cumberbatch’s son Hayden said the family intended to bury his father early in the New Year.