The BeerMonster Ducati riders had been fairly equal on podiums and wins all season and already arrived with just 14.5 points as the distance between the duo.

That shrunk when, in a weekend all about their team following the death of PBM team manager Paul Bird, Irwin landed the first blow - able to take sprint victory after Bridewell took himself up the run off at the chicane instead of hitting his teammate.

The tense atmosphere was amplified after the much talked about safety car incident in race two - the #46 was ahead at the time of it’s deployment for Storm Stacey’s crash and a muddle behind saw riders shoot in all directions as Bridewell backed them up at the restart.

Although in control of the start as the car peeled off, it was decided his actions were too unsafe and he was handed a long lap penalty. As the race was close to it’s conclusion Bridewell crossed the line first. The pack closing in behind the car meant the penalty, applied in time instead, was severe - the three added seconds dropping him to sixth - while also elevating irwin to a second win.

Words off track from Irwin caused a frosty atmosphere between the pair, and drove the Wiltshire based rider to a dominant final race performance to ensure Irwin did not earn a treble at the Cheshire track as the PBM team dominated the meet regardless of their differences.

‘I’m sad because it’s turned messy, I’m not going to sugar coat it.’

Bridewell was not only fighting for his championship hopes, but to be able to dedicate a win to the late Paul Bird:

“It’s been a tough weekend, not just for me but for the whole team, for the family, everyone involved. It’s been lovely to see the tributes that the British Superbike paddock and the paddock itself - it’s obviously hooked to Paul, very well deserved as well, it’s difficult to have all of that going on, a lot of people here, bike liveries and all that flying the flag for such a phenomenal icon in the sport who’s dedicated so much.

The Ducati rider also touched on the change in the garage, with the pair firmly pitted against each other:

I’m sad because it’s turned messy, I’m not going to sugar coat it, there’s no love lost between me and Glenn, he’s obviously done his talking off track and I’ve done my talking on track. It is a great, great shame.

I felt like earlier I took the penalty, within reason, on the chin. I feel like I’m still the very deserved double race winner today, and that’s what I leave today as - the double race winner.

But yes, we’ve lost a few points, honestly im not that bothered. It’s been a tough weekend I’ve not felt amazing on the bike all weekend and I’ve had to work hard for it.”

The race itself for the most part was high drama with the pair swapping position constantly, before Bridewell found another level and pulled away:

“That was a good race I think, to be fair, and probably to watch! It was going to be messy - Glenn was riding well and I was riding with my head, without the desperation. I felt like I ran a good clean race. When I wanted to I was able to bang down into the low 34s, it wasn’t massively difficult, I was trying to save my tyre to a point.

‘You can come out and go completely banzai here’

For his part, Irwin understood the importance of the Showdown format and the extra points it yields, and used that to his advantage:

“I think that system worked for me this weekend, I’ve been able to grab three podiums its been an unbelievable weekend, there’s been a lot of emotion before we came here.

It’s a bit of a cliche, we say ‘we work our asses off’, I guess we all do but when the team work as hard as you work if not harder you get results and reap the rewards”.

The events before race three had seen him already take over in the overall standings, but in a season where both Ducati riders have been equally matched, it seems fitting that they leave seperated by only half a point:

“The championship lead is nice - it’s always a nice position to be in as such. It is certainly better than where it was, I think nine races ago, when I was 38.5 points behind and we still have that one additional DNF. So to be in the lead, pretty much all square like, with the extra DNF is something that pleases me a lot.

The last race went Bridewell’s way and despite the atmosphere between the two, the #2 took the time to credit Bridewell for his dominant conclusion to the race:

“Hats off to Tommy, he rode a great last race, thoroughly enjoyable.

Pure I think - energy - you can come out and go completely banzai here , the other guy usuually comes with you anyway! His last couple of laps were really, really strong, I was working hard….I was beat fair and square in the race at that point".

‘My first triple podium is great, been a long time coming!’

Behind, Lee Jackson was doing all he could to try and get back in touch, but third marked his first ever triple podium as the Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki rider continues to flourish towards the close of the season.

The #14 reflected on his progress in the race and in his season:

“This track has always been a good one for me and obviously the Kawasaki works well around here as well but The expectation was to be inside the top five again after Cadwell missing out on a podium there that I felt like here we could definitely get on the podium, to walk away with three podiums, my first triple podium is great, been a long time coming”.

In the race he was moving forward, free of the earlier issues in race two with his rear brake, which saw him grateful for the safety car. This time Jackson was working back after a poor start, hoping for more to come in the final races as the Ducati’s remain preoccupied in their own battle:

“Just didn’t have quite have enough in this last race to go with the two red Ducati’s but …a great race - and credit to the two boys out front they put on a great show, they’ve got their own little championship fight to contend with so hopefully we can all get a bit closer at Donington.

The penultimate round, at Donington, the second in the showdown sequence of races, is on track over the weekend of 29 September - 1 October.