It was Anthony Brown, Mr DTRA, who, I think, first described an argument played out on Instagram as an insta-ding-dong. It was also Anthony who alerted me to an insta-ding-dong between two of the world's top flat track racers.
It started when AFT's official feed - @americanflattrack - posted a photo of Brad Baker and Henry Wiles discussing something on track (above). It was from a few years ago, at the old Daytona Short Track, pre-Baker's title win (hence the 12 on his bike, not a 1 or 6) . It turns out Baker was remonstrating about what he thought was dirty riding from Wiles.
Someone (@theoldmanbenny) made a fairly innocuous comment about how neither would take a swing at each other. Wiles replied and it kicked off.
It seems weird that a former champion would be so easily wound up, but having found himself in the middle, @theoldmanbenny chipped in again.
The hashtags at the bottom of Wiles' comment are referring to a speech impediment I didn't even know Baker had (and I've interviewed him a few times and spoken to him on many occasions), but he's clearly sensitive about it. His family too, because his mother joins the debate (all on a free to view, public instagram post). Something amused onlookers notice quickly.
Then Wiles seemingly holds his hands up, in apology, and perhaps some confusion at the escalation. He's also possibly thinking that potential sponsors would look down on what could be deemed as bullying.
It's slightly unseemly, but I won't lie, it did pique my interest and amuse me - these two pro athletes, one with a factory contract, trading schoolyard insults. I'm sharing it here, because there is surely going to be some kind of under-current for the season (if Wiles gets a bike good enough to keep in touch with the FTR750).
Now Sammy Halbert's gone straight the sport needed a pantomime villain, and Wiles is up to the job. Daytona is going to be interesting. Baker crashed out of the opening round last year, Wiles was on the podium, but Baker came third in the title overall - with lots of podiums but no wins, with Henry Wiles tenth overall and his Peoria win record in tact.