Deane Whitehorn was born in 1926, Adelaide (S.A) and was younger brother of Ron and Jack Whitehorn who were very successful cycling champions of club and state titles.
Commencing racing at an early age of 15 Whitehorn became a member of the Kilkenny amateur cycling club and at 16 won the 1-mile junior championship and the following month victorious in the 5-mile championship, both at Hanson reserve (S.A).
Continuing to record fastest times in his races in 1944 Whitehorn became State Junior Champion, with the win of the mile state senior championship, the 5 and the 10-mile which had an epic thrilling finish of 20 laps at Payneham Oval (S.A).Whitehorn preferred to use a 69inch gear however in the Christmas Derby ½-mile handicap used a 77inch gear beating a top field of champions.
He would never use bigger than 81inch gear until turning professional.
Whitehorn turned professional mid-1944 and won the 10-mile unpaced junior professional championship and the Super Elliott sash, the 15-mile state junior title Championship.
During the War period there were no national championships and Whitehorn joined the R.A.A.F and was posted out to Laverton Air force base (VIC), he continued to train with Tom Perry and Ken Stewart and started racing with the Footscray Professionals Club (VIC).
1946 Whitehorn won the Australian Sprint championship at Essendon board tracks (VIC) and in 1947 followed this up with the Australian 1000-metre held at Wayville (S.A) raced on dirt tracks, other titles to his name were the ½-mile, 2-mile and 5-mile championships all held at Payneham (S.A).
Whitehorn had 22 victories ranging from ½-mile to 10-miles and was the SA State champion of 1947-48 which he held the grand championship title.
Whitehorn trained very hard all seasons of the year; supremely physically with smart tactics his determination was superior of a champion.
Whitehorn continued to compete very successfully at the North Essendon Board track (VIC); the tracks had seven circuits to the mile with steep bends and were banked to nearly 45 degrees, riders taking them at high speeds were nearly parallel with the ground where top speed were 40 and 45 mph. Whitehorn was unstoppable and ruled the boards.
The boards were built at 90 degrees when riding and at summer creaks were heard due to temperatures, the track was a favourite among other champions.
1950, Whitehorn won with ease on the Essendon Board track against Bruce Opperman in the challenge match race, he amazed the crowd as he sprinted in the final laps to claim victory. His second heat was recorded at a faster time than his first, a brilliant outcome.Whitehorn beat a host of top grade cyclists including Sid Patterson, Bill Guyatt and Reg Harris.
In the same year Whitehorn had a fall, it was suggested by his friend and mentor Alf Brooks he spend the road season in Western Australia (W.A) where the weather was more healing than Victoria (VIC). In September Whitehorn won the 125-mile midlands Tour professional road race at Osbourne Park (W.A), as he was not a resident of WA he was not eligible to have the state title which went with the race.
Numerous fastest times and records were set by Whitehorn with the many competitions he entered and in early 1951 returned to Victoria where Whitehorn had won 13 A-Grade scratch races in succession at the Essendon track, he became all round track champion of Victoria with wins of the 4000-metre pursuits.
Whitehorn was sponsored by Super Elliott, they would pay him weekly to ride their bikes. He travelled to many locations to compete in carnivals and other cycle racing events, with competition success at Tasmania, New Zealand and Noumea where he had a string of 12 successes at Christmas, 1951.
In January 1952, Whitehorn was selected as a member of the Australian team to compete in tours in Europe; other members of the Australian Jubilee Cycling team were Peter Anthony (N.S.W), John Beasley (VIC) and Eddie Smith (N.S.W) with manger of the team Gino Bambagiotti who was a former Italian champion. The team was designed to put Australian cycling on the world map and would compete at leading tours in Europe and spend a few months abroad.
With moderate success Whitehorn was riding with prolific names of Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali, Jean Robic, Petrucci, Ferdi Kubler and Hugo Koblet.
In April at Nice, (FRA) Johnny Beasley finished in 28th position while Whitehorn retired at an early stage of the 150-mile race; thirty eight riders competed in the gruelling event.
July 1952 In London (U.K) Whitehorn won his heat of the 20-lap motor paced event and finished 2nd overall at Herne Hill and finished 4th in the 12-mile scratch race, these were great finishes competing against various champions of the continent, he competed in handicaps, scratch and match team events.
In August he won by inches over British rival Jack McKellow in the 25 lap 8-mile scratch event and took victory in the international 100-lap Madison race at Herne Hill. These were fantastic wins from Whitehorn.
Whitehorn returned to WA in September 1952 and again won the 125-mile championship in WA and broke the record; it was his second win in successive years.
Whitehorn was now competing at road racing events as it meant a more lucrative summer season, more success from Quorn, Port Augusta, Renmark and Broken Hill events and carnivals.
February 1953 Whitehorn returned to Victoria to captain the Victorian team at the Australian Championships and became the only rider to win the 5000-metre pursuit, a phenomenal win, the 1000-metre sprint and the 4000-metre team’s pursuit where he won in all three events in the same championship at Norwood (S.A).
In the late 1970’s Whitehorn’s brother Ron and Ron Backshall suggested forming a veteran cycling association in SA, Whitehorn was elected president.
Whitehorn went back to competition and continued to dominate many of SA’s leading cycle racing events including SA road championships in 1977 held at Goolwa (SA) and 1978 and 79 SA veteran road championships held at Freeling (S.A).
The list of achievements is incredible and still determined as ever it continues to grow today. A true Australian cycling Champion